Spartans And Illini Split Sunday Doubleheader
Caitlin Mahoney hits game winning home run in 5-4 victory.
EAST LANSING, Mich. â€“ The Michigan State softball team split a doubleheader against conference-foe Illinois on Sunday, falling 7-4 in game one, while Caitlin Mahoneyâ€™s sixth home run of the season gave MSU a late-inning 5-4 victory in game two.Â State improves to 34-22, with a 9-9 record against league opponents, while Illinois falls to 24-28, 8-9 Big Ten.Â
Meghan Darhower went 3-for-5 in the series, adding two RBI, while Dayna Feenstra went 3-for-6, which included her team-leading ninth home run of the year.Â Spartan hurler Rachel Turney (17-11) suffered the loss in game one, allowing six hits and four earned runs, while Lesley Noel improved to 10-7, pitching a complete-game victory in game two.Â
In game one, Illinois scored four runs in the top of the third inning when Jenna Hall singled to center, scoring Courtney Hoogeveen and Rachelle Coriddi.Â Angelena Mexicano plated two more Illini runs with a two-run home run over the left field fence for a 4-0 lead.
State posted one run in the home half of the third behind an RBI single off the bat of Darhower, scoring Gina Mondo to cut the lead to 4-1.
Hoogeveen led-off the top of the fifth inning with a triple to right center field before Megan Hair relieved Turney in the circle.Â Illinois added two runs on a Coriddi RBI single and an error in the Spartan outfield for a 6-1 lead.Â
Illinois extended its lead to 7-1 in the top of the sixth inning behind a Molly Lawhead home run. State looked to rally in the bottom half of the inning after consecutive errors by the Illini infield put runners on first and second with no outs.Â Kara Weigle scored on an RBI single from Nicole Mercado, however the Illini defense forced consecutive groundouts to hold the five-run advantage.Â
State added two runs in the bottom of the seventh behind an RBI double from Traci Nicosia and a Gina Mondo RBI single to center, however MSU left two runners on base for the second consecutive inning, dropping game one 7-4.
Darhower and Feenstra each went 2-for-3 in the game one loss, while Traci Nicosia and Mondo added one hit and one RBI at the plate.Â
In game two, Illinois scored in the bottom of the first inning when Mexicano posted her second home run of the series, a solo shot over the center field fence off of Noel.
State evened the score in the top of the second when Weigle crossed the plate on a stolen base and back-to-back throwing errors by the Illini defense.Â Illinois regained the lead when Hall drew a bases loaded walk in the bottom half of the inning for a 2-1 advantage.
Mercado led-off the Spartan half of the fifth with her team-leading fourth triple of the season, and scored on a Darhower single for a 3-2 MSU lead.Â The lead was brief however, as Illinois took a 4-3 advantage in the bottom half of the inning behind consecutive RBI singles from Kisten Martin and Lawhead.Â
Feenstra hit a line drive home run over the center field fence in the sixth to tie the game for the fourth time.Â Caitlin Mahoney broke the tie in the top of the seventh inning, hitting the game-winning home run for a 5-4 Spartan advantage.Â Noel faced just four batters in the bottom half of the inning to close the one-run victory.Â
Mahoney led the Spartan offense in game two with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate, adding one run and two RBI, while Feenstra, Darhower and Mercado each added one hit in the game two win.
The Spartans host Michigan in the final Big Ten Conference series of the regular season, May 6-7 at Old College Field.Â Both games are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.Â
With a triple in game two, Nicole Mercado now has four of the teamâ€™s six triples. She also moved into sole position of seventh on the Spartansâ€™ all-time list with nine.
Mercado recorded her team-leading 51st hit of the season in game two, tallying her 23rd RBI in the process.
Meghan Darhower continued her hot streak, notching an RBI in her third straight contest in game two. She added her second double in as many days and eighth of the season in game one.
Both Dayna Feenstra and Caitlin Mahoney homered in game two and have nine and six, respectively on the season. The two have accounted for more than half of the Spartansâ€™ 25 home runs on the year.
Lesley Noel claimed her 10th win, her 11th complete game and moved her season strikeout total to 72 for the year.
With two stolen bases in game two, Nikki Nicosia leads the team with 17 stolen bases for the season.Â Courtesy of MSU SID.
Spartans And Illini Split Sunday Doubleheader