Rutgers racks up 18 runs on 15 hits to pound LIU-Brooklyn
Some teams never learn.
Senior centerfielder Jackie Bates decided to teach LIU-Brooklyn a lesson not to pitch to a hitter who has already hit two home runs in the game.
“I was expecting them to walk me,” Bates said, referring to when she came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The Blackbirds didn’t, and she made them pay — hitting a grand slam and her third home run of the day.
It was a homerun that just inched its way over the fence, but head coach Jay Nelson mentioned it made up for the one she was robbed of in New Mexico at the Lobo Classic earlier in the season.
He went on to describe Bates performance as a “Reggie Jackson-like performance," referring to the Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer who belted three home runs in three pitches in a playoff game with the New York Yankees in 1977.
“I was taking it one at bat at a time,” Bates said. “I didn’t hit as well as I would have liked at Penn State. This was a good confidence booster.”
Bates finished the day 3-for-3 with the three homeruns and seven runs batted in (RBI).
The Rutgers softball team needed only five innings after the mercy rule was applied to secure an 18-9 victory over LIU-Brooklyn (18-28) at the RU Softball Complex on Tuesday.
It was the first of two midweek games for the team this week before it travels to New Rochelle, New York, on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. to take on Iona (14-22).
The Scarlet Knights (27-17) didn’t let Bates steal entire spotlight at the plate, accumulating 12 more hits and 11 RBI to provide a balanced lineup.
It was a stellar day for a team that struggled this past weekend at the plate in Penn State.
Freshman designated Sierra Maddox continued to show why she is a rising Knight, going 2-for-4 with four RBI. Junior Stephanie Huang went 2-for-3, adding two RBI in the win.
“Our hitting was really good,” Nelson said. “We didn’t leave many players on base so we came through in the clutch, which was key to extending our lead.”
Sophomore right-hander Shayla Sweeney had a solid outing, going four and two-thirds innings and surrendering eight runs on nine hits before junior right-hander Dresden Maddox entered in relief for the final out to shut it down.
“It helps us all with confidence,” Sweeney said. “Early in the game, I was throwing fine, but then I got shaky at times, but getting the win going in to this weekend definitely helps.”
The a polished defense picked her up. Rutgers did not commit a single error, turning two double plays to get her out of a pair of jams.
Nelson said she pitched well, but as the game wore on she lost focus and concentration. It showed in the fourth when the umpire evidently squeezed her on close pitches.
He said wants it to serve as a lesson for the entire team going forward that no matter the lead, the team needs to stay focused on the task at hand to close the game out with a win.
“When you get a big cushion, you have to play the same way,” Nelson said. “You have to shut it down and get outs in the game, and win the game. When you allow yourself to get overly confident relaxed, (you) allow things to happen that shouldn’t.”
Getting back on track after a disappointing was one of the keys coming into the game Tuesday, and Bates thinks the Knights did just that.
“It feels good to get this win, especially after the sweep,” Bates said. “Coming back and winning this one with our 15 hits shows we are coming together as a team. It definitely helps going forward."
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