Green And White Take Two From IPFW

DenisePopiolek

March 29, 2006

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Michigan State improved its record to 20-10 after sweeping IPFW in a non-conference doubleheader Wednesday afternoon in Fort Wayne, Ind. Megan Hair took the mound for the Spartans in game one, allowing just five hits and two earned runs in the 13-2 victory. Lesley Noel posted her fifth win of the year, allowing two hits, striking out nine, in a 7-0 game two shutout. Offensively, Traci Nicosia and Kara Weigle each tallied four hits on the day, while Meghan Darhower posted three hits, three runs and one RBI.

The Spartans posted a four-run first inning taking an early lead in game one. Nikki Nicosia and Traci Nicosia both scored after an error by the IPFW third baseman, while Darhower and Dayna Feenstra added one run each for the Green and White.

IPFW's Jenna Beachy posted an RBI-single in the bottom half of the first, but Michigan State answered when Jessica LeFevre scored in the top of the second. The Spartans posted a five-hit, seven-run fourth inning, taking a commanding 12-1 advantage. Traci Nicosia led the offensive attack with a bases-clearing double to the center field wall. Mercado and Weigle each recorded one RBI, while Meghan Darhower added one run and one RBI.

In the fifth, Mercado scored on an RBI-single from LeFevre, and IPFW added one run to near the lead at 13-2. Ahead by better than eight runs after the fifth, MSU took the abbreviated game win.

Hair allowed five hits and two runs in her fourth win of the year, while Darhower drew a season-high three walks. Traci Nicosia recorded two hits and a career-best four RBI, while Weigle added two hits, two RBI and one run for the Spartan offense.

Scoring began in game two when Mercado and Weigle singled in the top of the second inning, and Gina Mondo reached on a fielder's choice loading the bases. An error by the IPFW third baseman scored Mercado and Weigle, and Traci Nicosia singled home Mondo for the 3-0 lead.

Abby Lincoln replaced Feenstra on the bases after a lead-off double to start the third. Weigle scored the runner on a groundout to the Mastodon second baseman for the 4-0 Spartan advantage.

With the bases loaded in the seventh, Darhower scored on a Weigle single, and Dana Rosenblatt followed with a two-run shot to center for the deciding 7-0 lead.

Lesley Noel pitched her fourth complete game of the season, allowing two hits in MSU's sixth shutout of the year. At the plate, Darhower and Weigle each added two hits and one run, while Mercado scored a game-high two runs.

"We played very well today, and we hope the momentum carries into our Big Ten opener this weekend against Minnesota," Spartan head coach Jacquie Joseph said. "For us to have success during conference season we need to pitch well, play defense and have timely hitting."

The Spartans open Big Ten Conference play this Friday vs. Minnesota. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Old College Field.

NOTES

* Traci Nicosia posted a career-best four RBI in game one vs. IPFW. The feat had been reached 20 previous times in Spartan history, and ranks as the fourth-highest single-game total.

* Meghan Darhower drew three walks in game one. The mark set a new career-high, and ties the second-highest total in the single-game record books. She had previously walked one time on 12 occasions this season.

* Dana Feenstra has 11 doubles in 2006, just one shy of tying for eighth place on the single-season charts.

* Kara Weigle recorded her fifth multi-hit and fourth multi-RBI games of the season vs. the Mastodons.

* Gina Mondo has a team-best eight game hitting streak after Wednesday's doubleheader vs. IPFW. Meghan Darhower, Dayna Feenstra, Traci Nicosia and Kara Weigle have each posted eight-game hit streaks in 2006.

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