It’s always fun to beat Michigan, no matter the sport or the time of year. But pulling an upset in the conference tournament is especially sweet. Which gave MSU softball plenty to celebrate following a 7-0 win over the Wolverines.
Heading into the Big Ten Tournament, not much was expected of the Michigan State softball team. The Spartans finished the regular season at 26-25 overall and two games below .500 in conference, enough to earn an 8-seed in the tournament.
After narrowly getting by Nebraska in the first round in Madison, MSU faced top-seed Michigan on Friday. Things did not go as expected.
Things got off to a wet start on Friday, with no clear sign as to when the game would start. But once the teams took the field, it was nothing but green for the Spartans. The lineup flipped over to the top of the order in the second inning and leadoff hitter Lea Foerster slapped a basses-loaded single up the middle, knocking in two runs.
Bases loaded single by Lea Foerster scores two for an early lead vs. Michigan. pic.twitter.com/eJUUoGERS6— MSU Softball (@MSU_Softball) May 12, 2018
After opening up the scoring, the Spartans would continue to small-ball Michigan to death, adding one run at a time until a fifth-inning single pushed the lead out to 7-0. That was more than enough for Kristina Zalewski who pitched seven shutout innings only allowing three hits all game.
“This was just a solid effort from the first pitch to the last,” MSU head coach Jacquie Joseph said. “I loved our approach, and I thought that Kristina Zalewski showed that she can be one of the best pitchers in the country. I’ve said that I liked the way we were playing ball over the last few weeks. Maybe its the seniors with a sense of urgency, but they’ve really set a nice standard and everyone is just dialed in right now. We’ll get our rest and get ready to play tomorrow.”
Foerster led the offensive attack throughout the game, tallying three hits, including a double. After the game, her team was eager to celebrate while BTN cameras watched.
Imagine trying to conduct an interview through all of these shenanigans. @MSU_Softball's @Leafy_01 didn't miss a beat. pic.twitter.com/g4z553BOZN— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) May 12, 2018
The Spartans don’t yet know who they will play, waiting for the result of #12 Iowa vs. #4 Northwestern, which was pushed back from Friday night to Saturday morning. Assuming the rain holds off, the winner of that game will be forced to play a double-header, the second game coming against MSU at 4:30.
The updated #B1GSoftball Tournament bracket as we head into Saturday, starting with the fourth quarterfinal and leading all the way to the championship game -- and it's all live on @BigTenNetwork pic.twitter.com/0QU6kFpyNX— Big Ten Softball (@B1Gsoftball) May 12, 2018