PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Feb. 26, 2014) – The Rutgers softball team continues the 2014 season at the CSUN Invitational from Feb. 28 – March 2 in Northridge, Calif. The Scarlet Knights will take on Portland State in the first three games of the tournament, beginning with a doubleheader on Friday, Feb. 28 at noon. The following day, RU will face Portland State at noon and Cal-State Northridge at 5 p.m. The Scarlet Knights close the tournament on March 2 at noon against CSUN.
Rutgers (5-5) went 2-3 last weekend at the 2014 NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic, defeating UMass, 3-0, on Feb. 22 and the College of Charleston, 11-3, in five innings on Feb. 23. RU lost a tight contest, 4-3, against No. 25/24 Louisiana-Lafayette to close the tournament.
The Scarlet Knights hit .299 in their first two weekends of play, as two players – seniors Alexis Durando (Oakland, N.J.) and Loren Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) – own averages of at least .450. Durando leads the team with a .481 batting average.
Junior center fielder Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.) was named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll on Feb. 24 after being named the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic MVP last weekend (Feb. 21-23). Bates went 7-for-16 (.438) with three doubles, a home run, nine RBIs and an .813 slugging percentage.
RU has gotten off to one of the program’s best offensive starts through 10 games since 2004, recording the second most runs (52) and hits (80) and the second-best batting average (.299) and slugging percentage (.418) in that span. The 2011 squad posted more runs (55), hits (89) and notched a better batting average (.316) and slugging percentage (.450).
Scouting Portland State
The Vikings enter the contest at 2-8 overall after suffering seven consecutive losses over the first two weekends of the season. Portland State defeated Indiana, 8-6, and New Mexico, 10-0, at the Kajkawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. (Feb. 7-9), but have since lost seven straight.
Two weekends ago at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., the Vikings lost all five contests, including three one-run contests against BYU (Feb. 14), Hawaii (Feb. 15) and Seattle (Feb. 15).
Four Vikings are hitting .300 or better this season, as the team is led by Aubrey Nitschelm. Nitschelm leads the squad with 10 RBIs this season and is tied for the team lead with two doubles.
Crysta Conn leads the squad with two home runs, 19 total bases and a .576 slugging percentage.
Meagan Hendrix has been the Vikings most effective pitcher this season with a 2-2 recorded and 6.27 ERA in 22.1 innings pitched.
Cal-State Northridge (7-8) looks to get back on track this weekend on its home turf after dropping three of five games last weekend at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. (Feb. 21-23). The Matadors defeated New Mexico, 5-2, in their opening game of the tournament before losing three-straight to No. 18/13 Texas A&M (12-0), Long Island (5-2) and Oklahoma State (4-0). The squad rebounded to close the tournament, topping UNLV, 4-2.
Seven Matadors own batting averages of at least .300 (minimum 10 at-bats), as junior Kaitlin Toerner leads the way with a .483 average. Behind her are CSUN’s RBI leaders this season in freshmen Taylor Glover and Katie Hopper, who have recorded 10 and 11 RBIs, respectively. Glover owns a .391 batting average, leading the team with three doubles and four stole bases.
From the circle, the Matadors are led in wins by junior Briana Elder, who owns a 6-3 record and 3.00 ERA. She has tossed 46.2 innings and averages 5.25 strikeouts per game.
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding Rutgers softball, follow the program on Twitter (@RUSoftball) and Instagram (@RU_Softball). The team is also on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersSB). Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on our social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.