FGCU softball drops close game with Michigan State
After opening up its 2016 season with a loss in its first game of the FGCU Kickoff Classic, falling 4-2 to Middle Tennessee, the FGCU softball team lost a close game to Michigan State 2-1.
It was a pitchers’ duel between FGCU’s Ashley Dobson and Spartans pitcher Kristina Zalewski, keeping a combined 12 runners on base and the score deadlocked at zero through five innings.
In the first inning, the Spartans applied pressure early, getting two runners on base with just a single out. Dobson was able to work herself out of the jam, forcing two consecutive groundouts to escape the top of the first.
In the bottom of the third, the Eagles appeared to have cracked open scoring after Kelsey Huff hit a single with two outs, following Makensie McAvoy getting hit by a pitch that got FGCU two baserunners. Louie Ross then hit a single, as Huff reached third and come around to home to try to put the Eagles on the board but was tagged out at home.
The pitchers continued their dominant pitching, forcing each other to have back-to-back three up, three down innings in the bottom of the fourth and the top of the fifth.
Dobson opened up the sixth inning with a strikeout then forced a batter to ground out to second, grabbing a quick two outs. The Spartans would spark a two out rally after Sarah Gutknecht hit a double down the line. Lindsey Besson stepped up to the plate with a runner on second and put Michigan State up 2-0 with a homerun over the left field wall. After allowing the homerun, Dobson gave up two singles, giving the Spartans runners on first and third. Head coach David Deiros coming out of the dugout would signal the end of the night for Dobson after pitching 5.2 innings and struck out one allowing eight hits, two earned runs and one walk. Gabee Draney would replace Dobson on the mound and force the next batter to pop up, ending the top of the sixth.
Ross opened up the bottom of the six for the Eagles with a triple down the right field line. Ross would come home to score after an RBI ground out to second by Brittany McGuire, bringing FGCU within striking distance, down 2-1. After two consecutive ground outs for the Eagles, Chandler Middlebrook battled a 3-2 count to become the potential tying run on base. FGCU wouldn’t capitalize with a runner on first, popping out to second to end the sixth.
The Eagles would go three-up, three-down in the bottom of the seventh to fall to Michigan State 2-0 and fall to 0-2 on the season.
“I thought the seniors did a great job today,” Deiros told FGCU Athletics. “Louie (Ross) drove in a run in the first game and added a triple down the line in the second one. Mac (McAvoy) did a great job all the way around, and I thought Dobson’s performance was fantastic. She was persistent at what she does best.”
FGCU will take the diamond once again on Saturday, in day two of the FGCU Kickoff Classic, facing off against Memphis at 11:15 a.m. and Illinois-Chicago at 3:45 p.m.