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For the Rutgers softball team, a true test is looming. The Scarlet Knights (18-12, 3-3) are off to their best 30-game start in a decade after winning four of five at home last week, and plenty of motivation awaits them. Rutgers plays a doubleheader tonight against Hofstra in Hempstead, N.Y., where it will have two cracks at ending a nine-year drought. The Knights have not defeated the Pride (18-9) since 2004 — winless in their last 10 tries.
Over the last seven games, two players have exclusively handled the Rutgers softball team’s pitching duties and for good reason. In that span, sophomore lefthander Alyssa Landrith and freshman righthander Dresden Maddox allowed only eight earned runs in 48 and one-third innings — good for a 1.16 ERA. To further put it in perspective, the Scarlet Knights (18-12, 3-3) surrendered an earned run in only one inning of action in their last five games.
All sophomore pitcher Alyssa Landrith and senior catcher Kaci Madden could do was pound their gloves together in triumph when the Rutgers softball team secured a 6-0 shutout over Connecticut at the Rutgers Softball Complex on Saturday. After splitting Friday’s doubleheader with the Huskies, the Scarlet Knights (18-12, 3-3) earned their first series win over UConn since 1998. Landrith was dominant once more on the mound for Rutgers. She hurled seven innings of three-hit ball, striking out eight and walking only one batter.
After easily winning its season-opening doubleheader Wednesday behind two shutouts, the Rutgers softball team looks to carry momentum into its second Big East series this weekend against Connecticut. The Scarlet Knights take to the diamond at the RU Softball Complex for a two-day series with the Huskies today at 1 p.m., followed by the finale tomorrow at noon.
Dresden Maddox promptly jogged off the mound and high-fived her teammates after the Rutgers softball team completed its second shutout of the afternoon yesterday at the RU Softball Complex. The freshman righthander went the distance for the second straight time as the Scarlet Knights downed Hartford, 7-0, in the second game of their doubleheader.
For more than a month, the Rutgers softball team has competed almost exclusively in warm climates. Today, the Scarlet Knights (14-11) begin home action with a doubleheader against Hartford (8-14). A 45 percent chance of rain and snow is in the forecast, according to accuweather.com. While conditions will likely be colder than what Rutgers faced in Tampa, Fla., the Knights battled through similar weather in their second tournament, winning 4 of 5 games.
Luisa Leal called together her demoralized teammates Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C., after the Rutgers gymnastics team failed to qualify for the NCAA Regionals. The team was frustrated with being foiled at the threshold of the top 36 nationally, but the junior implored the Scarlet Knights to not lose sight of the big picture. Despite failing to finish strong at the East Atlantic Gymnastics League Championships, Rutgers raised the standard of its program this season with historic accomplishments.
Riding a six-game winning streak and a 13-9 nonconference record, the Rutgers softball team began Big East action Saturday in Tampa, Fla., seizing one win in a tight three-game series against South Florida. Two of the three contests were decided in the final inning, and the competitive play culminated Sunday with a nine-inning affair in the rubber game of the series. The Scarlet Knights lost, 4-3, as a walk-off homerun by shortstop Kourtney Salvarola sealed the game for the Bulls (24-11, 2-1).
Slowly but surely, Louis Levine consoled his gymnasts. As members of the Rutgers gymnastics team trudged off the floor of the Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Saturday, the head coach urged his team to keep perspective. The Scarlet Knights finished seventh among eight teams at the East Atlantic Gymnastics League Championships with a score of 193.925 — a mark Rutgers knew would not land it a spot in the top 36 for the NCAA Regionals.
An air of focused tension and supreme confidence consumes the Livingston Recreation Center these days. At the site of the Rutgers gymnastics team’s weekday morning practices, it is hard to find a Scarlet Knight dead set on anything other than earning the program its first trip to the NCAA Regionals since 2007. It is an unspoken mindset in which the Knights stay within themselves, not wanting to press.
Tomorrow marks the Rutgers softball team’s final tournament tune-up before the start of Big East play. The Scarlet Knights head to Clearwater, Fla., where they play three doubleheaders through Sunday. It starts with Oklahoma State (13-12) and Boston University (6-9), followed by Iowa State (10-10) and Maine (1-22), then finally Boston College (4-11) and Florida A&M (5-15). After a frustrating series this past weekend in California — where the Knights blew leads in four of the five games to finish 1-4 — Rutgers (7-8) wants to get back to playing confidently and with a chip on its shoulder.
After posting a nearly flawless 4-1 record March 1-3, the Rutgers softball team’s momentum all but dissipated this past weekend at the Mustang Classic in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The Scarlet Knights’ fortunes were reversed — dropping four of five in a tournament that head coach Jay Nelson simply called a “tough weekend.” That statement only scratches the surface of the team’s frustration. The Knights fell by a combined five runs in three of their four losses, and they scored first in each of those three contests. They also held a lead in all but one of the five games.
Luisa Leal spent more than a year fighting her way back to the all-around competition after being sidelined Jan. 20, 2012 with a chronic heart problem. The junior for the Rutgers gymnastics team returned to competition in all four events Feb. 17, and Friday night she cemented her name among the best in program history in the event. Leal set a school-record all-around score of 39.500 as the Scarlet Knights toppled Towson, 195.550-194.600, at the Towson Center in Maryland.
The Rutgers softball team competes in San Luis Obispo, Calif., this weekend, where through Sunday it participates in the Mustang Classic. Action begins with a doubleheader Friday afternoon against Sacramento State (8-5) and tournament-host Cal Poly (5-14). Rutgers then plays another doubleheader Saturday against Northern Illinois (6-7) and Nevada (9-11), followed by a Sunday finale with Nevada again.
For all of its history-making accomplishments at the Livingston Recreation Center, the Rutgers gymnastics team understands none of that means anything right now. The Scarlet Knights’ days of competition at home for this season are over, and they must travel again for two more meets to push for a berth in the NCAA Regionals. That starts when Rutgers will compete in a dual meet tomorrow night with former conference foe Towson.
It would be a huge accomplishment if Alyssa Landrith produces a better season this year than her Big East Rookie of the Year campaign the year prior. The sophomore lefthander for the Rutgers softball team hurled more than 200 innings in 2012 — more than the rest of the Scarlet Knights’ pitching staff combined — while compiling 18 wins with a highly efficient 2.28 ERA. But something even more impressive about Landrith this season has stood out to head coach Jay Nelson: her strikeout-to-walk ratio.
If one thing has been constant in the Rutgers gymnastics team’s season, it is that the Scarlet Knights have persistently shown they can keep the big picture in perspective. Through the highs and lows of a relatively inconsistent season, the Knights have stayed the course and never wavered from their end goal of making the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2007.
That much was reaffirmed after Saturday’s historic outing — when head coach Louis Levine made it very clear that his team’s business is far from finished.
A sea of emotional gymnasts and coaches embraced senior Danielle D’Elia after she nailed a floor exercise routine Saturday at the Livingston Recreation Center for the final time. The Rutgers gymnastics team set a school-record score of 195.975 on Senior Day, sweeping its quad meet against Cornell, William & Mary and Brockport. For D’Elia, all the work the Scarlet Knights put in this year finally paid off. “It’s amazing. It feels so good to finally get exactly where we’ve been wanting to go,” D’Elia said.
For the last two weeks, Rutgers head softball coach Jay Nelson asserted the Scarlet Knights’ offensive inefficiencies at San Antonio were merely a result of seeing live pitching for the first time this season. In their second tournament at Virginia this weekend, the Knights proved him right, slugging their way to 6.8 runs per game — more than double their output at San Antonio. In a Sunday doubleheader, the Knights compiled 16 runs in a sweep against Cornell (2-2) and George Mason (5-7).
Coming off a three-week road trip with stops in Ohio, Maryland and Colorado, the Rutgers gymnastics team performs at home tomorrow for the final time this season. Seniors Danielle D’Elia, Nicole Romano, Emma-Rose Trentacosti and Jenna Zito will bid farewell to days of competition inside the Livingston Recreation Center. The Scarlet Knights are eager for a proper sendoff, and history says it is likely. Rutgers is 7-1 at home this season, where it boasts nearly a 194 score average.