September 22, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers returns to Big Ten play with series against No. 24 Ohio State

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

Senior infielder Stephanie Huang leads the Knights in batting this season with a .389 average. She also leads the team in runs scored with 25.

Benjamin Franklin once said there’s only two things certain in life — death and taxes. 

Dropping a game to Ohio State when ace Shelby Hursh is in the circle may have to be added to that list.

Hursh is No. 2 in the Big Ten in ERA and added another spectacular start to her 2016 resume by no-hitting Penn State and adding 10 strikeouts in the first game of the Buckeyes' double header against the Nittany Lion on Wednesday.

But the way the Rutgers softball team has been playing may be a rude awaking to the junior right-hander.

After getting swept by Penn State two weekends ago, the Scarlet Knights (18-20) have looked immaculate as of late, going 4-1 in their last five contests.

Coming off of a win over in-state rival Seton Hall Wednesday, Rutgers is looking to add to its current three-game winning streak when it welcomes No. 24 Ohio State (21-8-1) to the Banks this weekend.

In last year’s series, which was played in Columbus, the Knights surrendered 2 losses out of the 3 games played.

But Rutgers now has four hitters hitting above the .300 mark and two in the .280’s, including senior Stephanie Huang.

The Paramus, New Jersey, native leads the Big Ten in hits with 49, ranks 12th in batting average with a .389 clip and is tied for sixth in doubles with 10. Sophomore Rebecca Hall ranks one spot ahead of her teammate in doubles, notching 11 thus far this season.

Along with the strong arms in the circle, the Buckeyes come into Piscataway with potent batters. Ohio State, with seven batters hitting .300 or over, and Jess Machovina ranking sixth in the Big Ten with a .415 average.

Besides Hursh, the Buckeyes have three other solid pitchers in Katya Duvall, Lena Springer and Morgan Ray. All three own ERA’s below 4.00.

Ohio State is 6-1-1 in conference play so far. It suffered a 7-4 loss against No. 6 James Madison in non-conference play, but showed it can hit the ball by rattling the No. 3 ranked pitching staff in the country.

The series between the Buckeyes and Knights starts off Friday at 3 p.m., followed by Saturday’s game at 1 p.m. and lastly, Sunday starting at noon.

For updates on the Rutgers softball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Bret Levinson

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