Rutgers steals Sunday game in weekend series against Iowa
The Rutgers softball team entered the weekend looking to rebound after being swept at home its previous time out. And while the team was unable to secure a series win, it ended with momentum thanks to timely hitting and pitching.
The Scarlet Knights (11-29, 2-10) took one out of three from Iowa (14-24, 7-7) in a series in which all games were decided by two runs or less. The series featured multiple pitchers going the distance, as two of the three games saw each pitcher go the full seven innings.
Rutgers started the weekend off with a 2-0 loss on Friday night. They only had one hit the entire game, as Hawkeyes pitcher Allison Doocy earned a complete game shutout.
The game was a pitchers’ duel for the first four innings, as senior Shayla Sweeney went toe-to-toe with Doocy. Rain caused the game to be briefly suspended in the top of the fourth, and the two pitchers picked up right where they left off, allowing no runs.
Iowa broke the stalemate with a run in the top of the fifth thanks to three Rutgers errors and tacked on 1 more in the sixth. The Knights had a brief glimmer of hope in the top of the seventh when sophomore right-fielder Nicolette Anico reached on an error with two outs. But pinch hitter Meaghan Wells struck out, ending the game.
Rutgers lost 5-4 the next day, giving up 5 unanswered runs after taking an early lead.
The Knights struck first in the third with a 2-run double for junior designated hitter Rebecca Hall and added 2 more in the fourth with two hits and an error. But the Hawkeyes answered back, tying the game with 4 runs in the bottom of the fourth.
The game stayed deadlocked until the bottom of the sixth, as Iowa’s Cheyenne Pratt led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice bunt. Rutgers had the tying runner on third with two outs in the seventh, but could not bring her home.
Freshman second baseman Taryn Atlee paced the team by going 3-for-3 and Hall led the team with two RBIs. Senior Aubrie Levine suffered the loss in the circle after coming on in relief of sophomore Whitney Jones.
The Knights finally earned their second Big Ten win of the season on Sunday, winning 2-0 in what was another pitching duel between Sweeney and Doocy.
Both pitchers pitched a complete game, and both had instances where they got out of trouble. Rutgers and Iowa both loaded the bases in the second but were unable to bring any runners home.
After six scoreless innings, the Knights finally scored the first runs of the game on a 2-run double from Atlee. Sweeney struck out the side in the bottom of the frame to secure the victory.
Rutgers returns to Piscataway for a doubleheader today against Maryland in just its fourth and fifth games at home. It has played 37 of 40 games on the road but will play nine of their last 12 at home.
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