PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 13, 2012) – The Rutgers softball team will wrap up its five-game homestand over the weekend as it hosts BIG EAST opponent Villanova in a three-game series at the RU Softball Complex. The series is set to begin with a doubleheader at noon on Saturday, April 14 and concludes with a single game on Sunday, April 15, also starting at noon.
The Scarlet Knights (17-21, 6-7 BIG EAST) are coming off a crucial extra inning victory against Notre Dame on Wednesday, marking the first win versus the Fighting Irish since the 2008 campaign and snapping a six-game RU losing streak. Rutgers dropped game one of the doubleheader to ND before getting an offensive surge from its freshmen.
The Scarlet Knights fell behind Notre Dame 5-0 before outfielder Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.) singled with the bases loaded to put RU on the board and first baseman Ashley Alden (Ivyland, Pa.) followed with her second grand slam of the season, to even up the score at five apiece.
Outfielder Chandler Howard (Wilmington, Del.) gave Rutgers its first lead of the afternoon with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, however the Scarlet Knights were unable to hang on to the lead. In extra innings it was again Howard who would come through, doubling with one out in the ninth to drive in junior second baseman Jennifer Harabedian (Flemington, N.J.) for the walk-off victory.
Rutgers has seen great production from its freshmen class this season, Howard leads RU with seven RBI in conference play, Alden is batting .429 (3-for-7) with the bases loaded – two of the three hits being grand slams – and pitcher Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville, Calif.) picked up her 12th win of the season, marking the most wins by a Scarlet Knights pitcher since Nicole Lindley recorded a 12-12 mark during the 2009 campaign.
The Wildcats (26-15, 0-8 BIG EAST) snapped a five-game losing streak on Thursday, taking one of two at Monmouth. Villanova fell behind 2-0 in game one, but recorded an eight-run third inning to en route to a 9-2 victory. MU came back in game two to defeat VU 5-1.
Senior outfielder Jamie O’Hara, senior pitcher Molly Manning and junior first baseman Valerie Ortega are each batting over .350 on the season. O’Hara is leading the team at a .377 clip, while Manning has driven in a team-high 24 RBI. In the circle, the Wildcats senior duo has accounted for 24 of the team’s 26 victories. Senior pitcher Caitlyn Delahaba has recorded a 14-9 record and a team-best 2.84 ERA this season, while Manning sits at 10-5 on the year with a 3.24 ERA.
VU holds the slight advantage in the all-time series against the Scarlet Knights, 20-18. RU split with Villanova in last year’s meeting, winning 4-2 before falling 2-1 on the Wildcats home field.
Fans are reminded to leave extra travel time on Saturday due to the Rutgers open house beginning at 9 a.m.
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