Rutgers senior shatters wins record in doubleheader sweep of Maryland
History was made on Tuesday in the first game of the doubleheader between the Rutgers softball team and Maryland.
Senior left-hander Alyssa Landrith cemented herself as the Scarlet Knights' winningest pitcher with 66 career wins, surpassing Juliette Brooks (1996-99) for most all-time.
But modeling her personality, she was selfless when talking about the record.
“It’s a pretty good feeling to have that record after all my hard work but today I owe it all to my offense, they had my back,” Landrith said. “I had full confidence we’d get the win in the last inning.”
Landrith threw a complete game, surrendering five runs on nine hits with five strikeouts.
She didn’t have her best stuff on the day, as was evident with her four walks, but Landrith had full confidence that her teammates would have her back.
With the bases loaded and Rutgers badly needing a hit, it got one — but not in the form one would think.
Freshman Rebecca Hall was hit by a pitch, allowing senior centerfielder Jackie Bates to cross the plate for the walk-off win.
“I was trying to find a good pitch that I can drive in the run for the win,” Hall said. “I wish I could have gotten a hit, but either way we still got the victory and in the end that’s all that matters. That high emotion played in our favor because we took it in to the next game.”
The Knights (25-14, 9-6) completed the dramatic comeback win in the bottom of the seventh to take the first game of the series in thrilling fashion, 6-5.
“Glad to come away with the win,” said head coach Jay Nelson. “I was hopeful when Chandler (Howard) got the leadoff double because it provided some good momentum to get the win and we capitalized on their mistakes.”
After going down 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a two-run single off the bat of Hannah Dewey and an RBI-single by Corey Schwartz, Rutgers would chip back at the lead.
The Knights ended up scratching across a run in the fifth and sixth innings to cut the Terrapins' lead to 5-4.
Before giving Hall the chance to get the win in the seventh, junior third baseman Jordan Whitley drove in senior left fielder Chandler Howard to tie the game.
After a walk and a hit batter, Hall finished things off.
In the rubber match of the doubleheader, things got off to a fast start.
The Terrapins (26-21, 8-9) scored three runs in the first inning from two home runs off the bats of shortstop Lindsey Schmeiser and second baseman Corey Schwartz.
Rutgers answered with two of its own runs from an RBI-double off the bat of Bates. Whitley went on to drive her in, following up with an RBI-single.
After that, it was the Knights' game to lose.
Rutgers went on to plate six more runs in the bottom of the second. Howard and Hall went yard, with
“I focused on seeing my pitch and not reaching for balls and staying relaxed in the box,” Howard said, who went 3-for-8 on the day with two key doubles and a home run. “I didn’t do too much or overthink it. You can’t win a game with one swing in that situation."
Rutgers went on to win the game, 11-3, applying the mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth. An RBI-single from Whitley scored Bates, serving as the dagger in the Terps' coffin.
The Knights were able to get the crucial sweep in the doubleheader heading into their weekend series against Penn State.
“Any time you get a sweep, it’s big especially in a doubleheader which is very hard because they’ve seen what you have,” Nelson said. “We made adjustments at the plate that helped us. Getting to 10 wins in the conference gets us that much closer to a playoff spot."
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