Rutgers finishes FIU Panther Invitational 2-3

This past weekend, the Rutgers softball team faced off in the FIU Panther Invitational against Monmouth, Florida International and Columbia. The weekend began with a 2-1 win against the Hawks (5-5), followed up by a 6-1 loss against the Panthers (9-5)  and then a 3-2 victory over the Lions (2-3). 

The Scarlet Knights (6-9) followed up with back-to-back losses against Florida International and Monmouth, going scoreless against the Hawks.

Even though Rutgers did not do as well as it would have liked, there were many highlights from the weekend, including milestone performances from senior infielder Jess Hughes, who tallied her 200th career hit in the fifth inning of the second Monmouth game. 

“Just coming out to play every game, this is my senior season, last one, best one. Knowing this is my last season, I have to know that I have done my best," Hughes said. "This is the last time I will play, so I need to push it every time."

Even though Hughes has done a remarkable job so far this season, she still has things to work on. She mentioned how since she is a leadoff hitter, she needs to get on base more for the team.

Senior outfielder Nicolette Anico also had a record performance by making her 100th career hit in the first inning of the second game against the Hawks.

Even though she has hit an impressive mark, she still believes that there are some other aspects of her gameplay that can be improved upon. 

“I think I can stay low, and stay behind it, not chasing after pitches that are not in my zone. (This) can help improve my hitting and gameplay," Anico said.

One part of the Knights' strategy that has been working in the past games has been the ability of the team to run the bases. Against Columbia, Rutgers was able to win with its ability to steal and run the bases. 

Head coach Kristen Butler stated how this weekend still has many things to work on. She mentioned how the Knights have been getting some hits from their leadoff hitters, enabling them to take a base. 

Even though Rutgers has to improve on some aspects of its game plan, it is playing well in certain areas. 

“We are running the bases well, that is one thing that we have been working on," Butler said. "Our pitchers had some great moments, almost had a no-hitter against Monmouth, only allowing two hits. (The) defense has also done a much better job this weekend, not letting up as many errors as before.”

With these thoughts, in mind, the Knights' game plan will take time this season. With their upcoming schedule, it will be important for them to work on getting more runs in games. 

The key to Rutgers' success in the future depends on its hitting. The Knights' pitching has done well and has kept runners at bay. 

"I was proud of our pitchers being ready to go at a moment's notice, and loved that we scored first and scored early," Butler said. "That's always the goal." 

For updates on the Rutgers softball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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