PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March, 6, 2013) – After recording its best 10-game start since 2008, the Rutgers softball team heads to San Luis Obispo, Calif., this weekend to compete in the Mustang Classic from March 8-10, hosted by Cal Poly.
The Scarlet Knights (6-4) will open the tournament with a Friday doubleheader, featuring games against Sacramento State (2:30 p.m. ET) and Cal Poly (4:30 p.m. ET). RU will take part in another doubleheader on Saturday, when it faces Northern Illinois (noon ET) and Nevada (2:30 p.m. ET), before closing the tournament with a Sunday matinee against Nevada (noon ET).
RU looks to build on its 4-1 performance at the Patriot Classic last weekend, when the team outscored its opponents 34-9 in five games. Sophomore lefthander Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville, Calif.) posted a 2-1 record and a save in Fairfax, Va., allowing just two earned runs in 24.0 innings of work.
Rutgers dominated from the plate, hitting .303 as a team courtesy of strong weekends from senior shortstop Ashley Bragg (Middletown, Del.), sophomores Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.) and Chandler Howard (Wilmington, Del.), and junior Loren Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.).
Williams earned a spot on the BIG EAST Honor Roll for her 8-20 (.400) weekend, as Bates and Howard paced RU with seven and eight RBIs, respectively. Bragg went 7-14 (.500) with a pair of doubles, three RBIs and five runs scored.
Sacramento State (8-5) marks the Scarlet Knights’ first test of the weekend, and heads into the tournament on a three-game winning streak. The Hornets, who will play RU for the first time, are outscoring their opponents 13-7 in the past three games. Emily McCormick paces the team with one home run and seven RBIs this season. Jennifer Hartman and Caitlin Brooks are a combined 7-2 from the circle, with ERAs of 0.84 and 1.75, respectively.
Tournament-host Cal Poly (5-14-1) returns to San Luis Obispo to play in its first home contests of the season. The Mustangs dropped four of five contests at the Easton Invitational, but boast five hitters with averages above .300. Cal Poly will play three doubleheaders, closing with Sacramento State on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET. RU takes on the Mustangs for the first time in school history.
The Northern Illinois Huskies (6-7) will look to bounce back from a two-game skid at the Coach B Classic in Carbondale, Ill. Jessica Sturm leads her squad to California with a 3-3 record and 1.57 ERA. RU is 0-1 all time against the Huskies, as NIU took the only meeting between the two schools, 10-2, on March 13, 1995.
Nevada, RU’s final opponent, enters the Mustang Classic on a two-game skid after closing the Libby Matson Invitational with a 9-5 loss to Southern Utah. The Wolfpack have two hitters with .400-plus batting averages in Karley Hopkins (.449) and Erin Jones (.400), and are hitting .298 as a team through 20 games. RU’s two games against Nevada represent the first ever meetings between the two schools.
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