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Rutgers takes 3 games in Mercer Invitational

This past weekend the Rutgers softball team participated in the Mercer Invitational in Macon, Georgia. The Scarlet Knights (3-2) faced off against three teams this weekend: Jacksonville State, Mercer and Army.

Head coach Kristen Butler coached in her first series of games at the helm for Rutgers. Although the Knights did not win their first two games, they went on to win the last three, beating their opponents by 4 points or more. 

Senior infielder Jess Hughes finished last weekend with a .800 slugging percentage, 6 runs scored and a .400 batting average. 

Hughes said this season, she hopes to remain the power-hitting player she has been for her team these past few months. 

“I just plan on trying to improve every year, from everything to base running, stealing bases, improving my hitting and hitting more runs," she said.

Another player who had an impressive outing in the invitational was freshman pitcher Corah Price. In her first collegiate outing, she posted a 1.75 earned running average. Aside from allowing 2 runs, her opposing batting average was .182. She also struck out seven batters in the invitational.

Those statistics make Price the leader in most pitching categories for Rutgers this early in the season. 

“You're able to achieve great things in high school, but now in college, I have such great access to fantastic coaches and players to help accelerate the level of play that I am capable of now," Price said. "Especially with my pitching now, I am a lot more aware of how much training I need to get done."

While looking back on her success and improvement, Butler said she has many ideas on how to change her game plan for the future. Looking forward into the season ahead, after the first series, the team also has many different aspects of play to improve upon and look back on with success.

Butler said one aspect of play the Knights can improve on is their base running. She also said that opening weekend is a time for the team to find the areas where they can make progress. 

“There are only so many times you can simulate a game through intra-squad play, and so we really won't know until we play against outside competition, and hopefully be ready for Big Ten play," Butler said.

With these notes for the future in mind, Rutgers already looks like it has a promising season ahead, despite it just beginning.

“I think of a lot of the same things, like transferring from one program to the next and changing the team culture. It changes already, but from school to school, the idea is the same," Butler said. "We have to figure out what is Rutgers softball, what does that look like, what does it mean and what are our standards? And that will bring it all together."

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

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