Rutgers hopes to avenge early-season loss in battle against Hofstra
So far this season, the Rutgers softball team has struggled when it comes to rematches.
The Scarlet Knights (8-21, 1-2) are 2-6 against opponents that they have already faced, unable to avenge losses that they suffered earlier in the season, but they hope that can change later today.
Rutgers will travel to Hempstead, New York to take on Hofstra (10-12, 1-2) for a non-conference midweek game. The teams met at the Florida Gulf Coast University Four Points by Sheraton Invite, with the Pride winning 3-1 in eight innings.
Hofstra opened its Colonial Athletic Association portion of the schedule with a three-game series against then-No. 10 James Madison. They dropped the first two games against the Dukes before winning the last one.
Like Hofstra, the Knights went 1-2 in its first conference series of the season. The team lost its first two games to Indiana, including a 23-2 blowout, before bouncing back with a 7-5 win in the series finale.
Head coach Jay Nelson said that the win on Saturday boosted the team’s confidence, and will pay dividends going forward. He said that it was important for Rutgers to rebound after losing its first two games, especially in the wake of a 21-run loss.
Due to the midweek game, the Knights only had time for one practice this week, preparing both for its game against the Pride and its weekend series against Ohio State. Nelson said that team would focus on defense and base running.
“Our communication has to be better, and we have to work on getting better jumps on the pitch when we’re running bases,” he said.
Despite a couple of bad losses over the weekend, the Knights still showed that it has a lot of players that can produce game in and game out. Junior first baseman and cleanup hitter Rebecca Hall hit her ninth home run of the season, good for the team lead and second overall in the Big Ten.
Other players who have been consistent for Rutgers include freshman shortstop Taryn Atlee, who ranks eighth in the conference with a .404 batting average and had four hits on Saturday. And at the top of the pitching staff is senior Shayla Sweeney, who leads the team with seven wins. She went 1-1 over the weekend, pitching two complete games.
Nelson noted that he would switch up his pitching a little bit for the game in order to give multiple people time in the circle. Despite the fact that only one pitcher has gotten a win outside of Sweeney this season, changing that would be very beneficial for the Knights going forward.
With its most recent win still fresh in its mind, Rutgers hopes that it can go back out and win two straight games for just the second time this season.
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