â€¢Â Â Michigan State heads to Tempe, Ariz., to participate in the Littlewood Classic.Â The Spartans will play five games over three days, which includes a game each against No. 11 Oklahoma, No. 3 Washington, and San Jose State, which is receiving votes in the poll.
â€¢Â MSU has a pair of athletes from the state of Arizona.Â Destinee Luna (Surprise/Centennial) was the 2012 Arizona Division 1 Player of the Year pick in Section 1, while Valerie Kaff (Mesa/Mountain View) was a MaxPreps 2013 All American and the Gatorade Softball Player of the Year.
â€¢ MSU opened the season at the Stetson Leadoff Classic.Â The Spartans fell to host Stetson 5-1 in the season opener, then swept Rhode Island in a doubleheader (5-0, 9-0 (5)) in the final day of the tournament.
â€¢Â Ten of the 12 players with a plate appearance last weekend came away with at least one hit. Six had at least one RBI, and MSU was walked nine times.Â Â MSU hit four home runs last weekend, the third-highest team total in the league behind Indiana (6) and Wisconsin (5).
â€¢ Â Kassidy Kujawa ranks third in the league in batting average and is tied for second in on-base percentage (667).Â She went 4-for-7 with a team-best four RBI and two homers at Stetson, the first two round-trippers of her collegiate career.
â€¢Â Both Destinee Luna and Alyssa McBride had three hits last weekend in Florida.Â Luna went 3-for-9 (.333) with a hit in each game, giving her the teamâ€™s current longest active hitting streak (three games).Â McBride went 2-for-3 in the second game against URI with a double and an RBI.
â€¢ Kelly Smith threw 11 innings last weekend, scattering nine hits and striking out 14. In both games, at least half of her strikeouts were batters caught looking – three of her six Kâ€™s vs. Stetson, and five of eight against URI. Valerie Kaff made her first collegiate appearance in relief against Stetson; she got her first start against Rhode Island, throwing four innings, scattering three hits, and earning the win in a 9-0 decision.
â€¢ MSUâ€™s pitching staff ranks third in team ERA in the Big Ten (1.94), and has also issued just two walks – the fewest in the league. Both Smith and Kaff are among statistical leaders in several categories – Smith is ninth in ERA (1.91), tied for third in strikeouts (14), first in strikeouts looking (8), eighth in runs allowed (3) and 11th in earned runs allowed (3).Â Kaff is ninth in hits allowed (6), tied for fourth in runs allowed (2) and tied for fifth in earned runs allowed (2).
â€¢ Smithâ€™s 14 strikeouts brought her to a career total of 236, 14 shy of moving into MSUâ€™s top 10Â for career strikeouts.