MSU softball falls to Murray State in extra innings

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Playing in its first postseason tournament since 2004, the Michigan State softball team got off to a roaring start Tuesday.

The finish wasn't so good.

The Spartans took a 6-0 lead on Murray State only to fall, 7-6, in nine innings in the National Softball Invitational Championship opener in Normal, Ill. The NSIC is a new, second-tier tournament this year, below the NCAAs, like the NIT in men's and women's basketball.

Murray State's Jessica Twaddle reached on an error to start the ninth inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, third on a flyball, and home on a wild pitch for the walk-off, winning run.

Michigan State (31-23) returns to action in an elimination game at 2 p.m. Wednesday, against IUPUI.

Junior Lea Foerster and freshman Kelcey Carrasco each went 2-for-5 and Carrasco belted her 10th home run for the Spartans, who led 2-0 after the second and 6-0 after the top of the third.

Murray State (36-18) then chipped away, scoring in the third, fourth and fifth innings to cut the deficit to two, then scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the game to extra innings.

It was the fourth extra-inning game for Michigan State, which has won one and lost three.

Twaddle had two hits, including a home run, and three RBIs for Murray State.

Senior Sarah Gutknecht added two RBIs and sophomore Lexi White homered for Michigan State, which had runners on the corners and nobody out in the top of the ninth inning, but failed to score.

Michigan State last made a postseason tournament in 2003 and '04, when it played in the NCAA Tournament.