Less than 24 hours after knocking off top-seed Michigan, Michigan State crashed out of the Big Ten softball tournament, getting no-hit in an 11-0, five-inning semifinal defeat by Northwestern on Saturday in Madison, Wis.
The Wildcats' Morgan Newport kept the 8-seed Spartans (26-26) hitless, striking out four and walking one while facing 17 MSU batters.
Northwestern (36-16) chased MSU starter Kristina Zalewski, who pitched a three-hit, 10-strikeout gem against UM the previous night, when it erupted for eight runs in the second. Zalewski gave up five runs, four earned, on five hits while striking out two in 1⅓ innings.
"Credit has to go to Northwestern — they jumped on us in the first and second, and their pitcher never allowed us to get going at the plate," MSU coach Jacquie Joseph told reporters. "We got behind too early with a 10-0 hole before our second chance to see their pitcher and just never recovered.
"This is doubly difficult because this is a very special group of seniors who played their final game today. These six student-athletes really made a difference in our program. This was certainly not the way they wanted to go out. Tonight it stings, but they should be remembered not for today but their entire body of work throughout their careers where they truly made a difference in the culture of our program."
Sammy Nettling went 1-for-2 with four RBIs while Sabrina Rabin went 3-for-4 and drove in a run to lead No. 4 Northwestern, which advances to play No. 2 Minnesota in the championship.
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
At Madison, Wis.; all games on BTN
No. 7 Wisconsin 8, No. 10 Purdue 0
No. 6 Illinois 5, No. 11 Maryland 3
No. 8 Michigan State 4, No. 9 Nebraska 3
No. 12 Iowa 5, No. 5 Ohio State 1
No. 2 Minnesota 6, Wisconsin 0
No. 3 Indiana 2, Illinois 1
No. 8 Michigan State 7, No. 1 Michigan 0
No. 4 Northwestern 2, Iowa 1, (8 innings)
Minnesota 9, Indiana 4
Northwestern 11, Michigan State 0 (5 innings)
Minnesota vs. Northwestern, 11:30 a.m.