PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 28, 2012) – The Rutgers softball team fell short in a pair of come-from-behind opportunities in Saturday afternoon’s BIG EAST doubleheader against St. John’s at the RU Softball Complex. The Scarlet Knights had the game tying run on third in game one, but lost 4-3 and despite three home runs in the bottom of the seventh in game two, RU was unable to complete either comeback in a crucial conference series. .
Freshman outfielder Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.) had a monstrous offensive day, going 2-for-5 on the day with two home runs and four RBI.
St. John’s (21-30, 9-9 BIG EAST) jumped on freshman pitcher Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville, Calif.) – who came off a perfect game on Wednesday against Iona – early, recording four hits in its first plate appearance, including a deep fly ball over the left field fence by freshman shortstop Erin Burner to give the Red Storm a 2-0 lead.
Rutgers (24-26, 9-12 BIG EAST) responded in the bottom of the second inning with a blast of its own, a two-run shot over the center field fence from freshman outfielder Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.) tying the game up at two apiece. Fellow freshman outfielder Chandler Howard (Wilmington, Del.) was driven in on the home run after reaching base on a single up the middle. The Scarlet Knights were not done in the inning however, putting runners on first and second with back-to-back walks from freshman Ashley Alden (Ivyland, Pa.) and senior catcher Kylee Bishop (Tacoma, Wash.), but starting pitcher Fran Carrullo was able to escape the inning without any further damage, getting senior outfielder Lindsey Curran (Monroe Township, N.J.) to fly out to left for the third and final out.
Burner looked to have gone yard for the second time in the contest, but Bates was able to get a glove on it and keep it in the park for a double. Redshirt senior third baseman Kacee Cox finished the job however, hitting her 13th home run of the season on the next at bat to put the Red Storm back on top at 4-2 in the top of the third.
A Rutgers error allowed the sixth inning to continue and a pair of singles loaded the bases for STJ. The Red Storm brought in freshman pinch hitter Zoe Yeung to the plate with two outs, but Landrith was able to sidestep the threat with her third strikeout of the afternoon.
RU strung together a pair of hits in the bottom of the sixth to pull within one run, 4-3. Junior second baseman Jennifer Harabedian (Flemington, N.J.) drew a one-out walk and following a fly out to right by Howard, junior Ashley Bragg (Middletown, Del.) knocked a single just above the second baseman’s head, allowing Harabedian to advance to third and Bragg to take second on the throw. Bates picked up her career-high third RBI of the contest with a single up the middle. With runners on the corners, Rutgers went for the double steal with Alden at the dish, but St. John’s was able to get a sliding Bragg out at home to escape the inning.
The Red Storm threatened again in the top of the seventh, loading the bases, but Landrith struck out sophomore first baseman MacKenna Neuroth for the second time of the game, sending the Scarlet Knights to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with a one-run deficit.
Carrullo picked up three of her six strikeouts on the afternoon in the bottom of the seventh to solidify her seventh win of the year (7-7). Carrullo allowed three runs on five hits, while Landrith surrendered four earned runs on 10 hits in the loss (17-10).
In game two, Cox – who went 3-for-4 in game one – drilled her second home run of the day to put the Red Storm on the board 1-0 in the second inning.
Rutgers tallied its first base runners following a walk from Bishop, single from Curran and a third strike wild pitch for sophomore designated player Loren Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) to load the bases with two out for the Scarlet Knights, but RU was unable to capitalize as starting pitcher Ashley Beza stuck out the side in the bottom of the third.
A trio of errors from the Rutgers’ defense, along with a single allowed a run to score and brought the departure of RU starter Noelle Sisco (Towaco, N.J.) in the top of the fourth – despite matching her season high of five strikeouts in the first three innings. Junior Abbey Houston (New Egypt, N.J.) came in with runners on second and third and was able to get two quick outs before walking second baseman Chrissy Montez to load the bases. Houston was able to get pinch hitter Ellen Czuba to ground out to end the inning, with RU down 2-0.
St. John’s added four runs in the top of the fifth – two of which were earned – to take a 6-0 advantage, before the Scarlet Knights would respond. Rutgers exploded for five runs in the bottom of the seventh. Bates led off the inning with a home run. Bishop walked and Curran launched a two-run shot over the left field fence to bring RU within three, 6-3. With two outs, senior third baseman Brittney Lindley (Cicero, N.Y.) laid down a bunt for a single and Harabedian drove her home on another two-run blast, bringing Rutgers within one at 6-5, however, the Scarlet Knights were unable to complete the comeback.
Sisco picked up her first loss of the season (2-1) after allowing two runs on four hits. Houston pitched four innings of relief, allowing one earned run on two hits. Beza earned the win (12-18) tossing 6.2 innings and Aleshia Link came on for the final out of the contest to pick up the save.
Sunday will wrap up the series and BIG EAST regular season action for the Scarlet Knights. First pitch is scheduled for noon at the RU Softball Complex, with each of RU’s four graduating seniors being recognized prior to the game.
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