Boilers begin home campaign with 10-1 win over Michigan State

Purdue Softball

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) – The Boilermaker softball team continued its hot hitting in a 10-1 home-opening win over Michigan State on Friday. The victory, which saw the Boilers put up 13 hits, including seven for extra bases, was the team’s seventh straight and the first for first year head coach Kim Schuette at the Boilermakers Softball Complex.

Senior Andie Varsho went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run, while freshman Katie McJunkin went 3-for-3 with a triple. Junior Ashley Burkhardt had two hits, including a home run in the game, which featured hits by eight different players.

Sophomore Lilly Fecho (13-8) struck out five Spartans in six innings of work in the victory. Junior Alex Whittemore threw the final inning for the Boilers. Kelly Smith (2-8) struck out three but allowed Purdue seven walks in the loss for MSU.

Varsho moved into a tie for fifth place on the career doubles list, upping her tally to 42.

Senior Maia Monchek walked and McJunkin added a single in the second inning, but the Boilers could not score.

The Spartans scored first, putting up a run on two hits in the bottom of the second inning. Leadoff single and two sacrifice bunts, set up the RBI single by Alyssa McBride. A strikeout kept MSU from adding more runs.

The Boilermakers could not capitalize on a pair of walks in the third. Sophomore Paris Andrew walked to start the stanza, but was out the following play as Varsho reached on a fielder’s choice. Varsho swiped second and went to third on a ground out. A two-out walk to senior Tori Chiodo put runners at the corners, but MSU forced a grounder to the shortstop to end the inning.

Purdue broke onto the scoreboard with three runs on four hits in the fourth. A leadoff walk to senior Danielle Fletcher and a single by Monchek set up a two-run triple to the right center gap by McJunkin. An illegal pitch brought McJunkin home. Varsho added a double and senior Lindsey Rains laid down a beautiful bunt for a hit and stole second, but a fly ball left both in scoring position.

Burkhardt lifted the first pitch of the fifth inning over the wall in left center to make it 4-1.

After forcing MSU to strand a runner on third in the fifth, Purdue continued its hit parade in the sixth, tacking on four runs on five hits. Varsho lifted a leadoff home run over the left field wall. Chiodo followed two batters later, placing a homer over the scoreboard in right field. Burkhardt singled and stole second, from which she scored on a double by senior Danielle Fletcher. Fletcher went to third on a fly out and came home care of a McJunkin single.

Another 1-2-3 inning by Fecho brought the Boiler bats back to the plate, where they managed two more runs on two hits and an error. Senior Lauren Grant reached on a fielding error. Pinch runner Paris Andrew went to third as Varsho sent her second double down the right field line. Sophomore Lexi Valone drove in both with a pinch hit single up the middle.

Whittemore finished the job, sitting down three Spartans, while working around a two-out error. A pair of grounders and a liner to third base wrapped up the game.

The Boilermakers (17-16-1, 4-0 Big Ten) return to action at noon Sunday, when they will wrap up the series with the Spartans with a doubleheader. As was the case on Friday, Purdue will be the designated visiting team in the twin bill.

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