Rutgers drops 4 games in Texas A&M Invitational
This past weekend, the Rutgers softball team faced off against Liberty, McNeese State and No. 22 Texas A&M in the Texas A&M Invitational. In this packed schedule against three opponents, the Scarlet Knights (4-6) were only able to pull away with one win.
Even though Rutgers went 3-2 last weekend at the Mercer Invitational, the Knights were unlucky toward the start of this weekend, losing 3 of the first 5 to the Flames (4-6) 2-1, the Cowgirls (6-5) 6-4 and the Aggies (8-3) 7-6.
All of the games that Rutgers played in this series have been very close, with a scoring margin of 2 runs or less. This statistic is even displayed in the Knights' first win of the series against McNeese State 2-1 in eight innings.
With these scores in mind, many players have done well in this series. One player who did an excellent job at pitching was senior Whitney Jones, allowing with no runs, one walk and three hits in the entire game against Liberty on Feb. 15.
“I have been able to trust my defense, which has been a huge help. I have been trying to get ground balls for them, and in turn, they have been a big help for me," Jones said. “I can throw more strikes, not get behind in the count as much and not give up as many walks.”
On top of Jones's performance, freshman pitcher Corah Price also allowed only one hit and picked up the final two outs in the game against Texas A&M.
Senior shortstop Jess Hughes went 2-for-3, with a double, 2 runs scored and a stolen base against the Aggies. On top of Hughes’s effort to gain momentum on the base path, another instrumental player in this series was junior left fielder Anyssa Iliopoulos. She hit two doubles, scored 2 runs and added a RBI against Texas A&M.
“I’m just trying to be aggressive, do what I can for my team, help my team productive and score runs, trying to keep the ball in play," Iliopoulos said. “I think I can always work on staying aggressive, and not get caught up on waiting for certain pitches, and making sure to not get behind the count."
After the game against the Aggies, Rutgers earned its first win of the weekend against the Cowgirls with the help of an impressive performance by freshman second baseman Aleah Marra. Marra had a multi-hit game, going 2-3.
On top of that performance, junior first baseman Nicole Bowman drove in the initial game-tying run, with a two-out single, to help keep the Knights alive. With this play, Rutgers was then able to take the lead off an error, grabbing a 2-1 win.
Even though the Knights lost 4 of the 5 games they played last weekend, it should be noted that it is only the beginning of the season, and there are many more games to go.
"It was a big day for us," said head coach Kristen Butler, according to scarletknights.com. "I am very proud of how our team played and made adjustments all day. We scored in all but two innings against Texas A&M, and scored late against McNeese. Whitney Jones did a great job pitching for us in both games."
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