CLEARWATER, Fla. (March 15, 2014) – The Rutgers softball team made big plays when it needed them most against Central Connecticut Saturday evening, mustering up a seventh-inning rally before walking off with the win in the bottom of the eighth at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.
Rutgers (9-7) has now won four-straight games to move two games above .500 for the first time this season. The Scarlet Knights won their first extra-inning contest since defeating Pittsburgh, 4-3, in nine innings on May 4, 2013.
Junior center fielder Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.) stepped up to the plate with two outs and a runner on second in the bottom of the seventh with her Scarlet Knights trailing, 5-3. From there, Bates blasted the Laura Messina offering deep to left center, as the ball flipped off the glove of left fielder Evie Rentzel and over the fence to tie the contest at 5-5.
The Scarlet Knights faced more adversity in the top half of the eighth, as the Blue Devils earned a hit in their first at-bat in the international tiebreaker scenario to put runners on the corners with no outs. Freshman right-hander Shayla Sweeney (Barrington, N.J.) stepped up to the challenge, forcing three-straight groundouts to escape the inning unscathed.
With sophomore shortstop Melanie Slowinski (Severn, Md.) on second to start the bottom of the eighth, freshman Carly Todd (Deptford, N.J.) hit the ball at the second baseman, who threw it away at first base and allowed Slowinski to come all the way home for the 6-5 win.
Sweeney (3-3) picked up the win, tossing the final 3.0 innings while allowing six hits, two earned runs and two walks. Sophomore right-hander Dresden Maddox (Kennesaw, Ga.) registered a solid 5.0 innings of work in the no-decision, allowing six hits and one earned run (three overall) while striking out six.
Slowinski, junior left fielder Chandler Howard (Wilmington, Del.) and senior right fielder Loren Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) all tallied two hits in the game, while Bates’ two RBIs led the way in that category.
Rutgers picked up a 4-1 win against Buffalo in its first game of the afternoon, using another complete game from junior left-hander Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville, Calif.) to secure the win.
Bates gave RU a 1-0 edge in the opening frame, recording her fifth hit in six bats to plate Howard from second base. From there, the Scarlet Knights would tack on three more runs, taking advantage of an error in the top of the fifth inning to go ahead 4-0.
A two-run error in the frame gave RU its third and fourth runs after senior first baseman Alexis Durando (Oakland, N.J.) battled back from an 0-2 count for an RBI-single.
Landrith pitched lights out in the final two innings just as she did through the first five, allowing just a run and a hit before ending the game with a pop out. She tossed her seventh complete game in nine outings, allowing five hits and one earned run while fanning nine Bulls.
The Scarlet Knights wrap up the tournament tomorrow against Quinnipiac and UMass. RU begins the day against the Bobcats at 11:15 a.m. before closing the weekend against the Minutewomen at 1 p.m. Rutgers defeated UMass, 3-0, earlier this season at the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic.
- The Scarlet Knights won their first extra-inning contest since defeating Pittsburgh, 4-3, in nine innings on May 4, 2013.
- Rutgers handed 2013 NCAA Softball World Series qualifier CCSU its first loss since March 2, when the team fell, 4-1, against Oakland.
- RU is a game ahead (9-7) of where it was last season through 16 games, when the team was 8-8.
- Landrith has gone the distance in all seven of her starts this season. She is averaging 1.2 strikeouts per inning and is eight Ks above where she was through 16 games last season.
- Bates hit the 12th home run of her career third of the season, tying for the team lead. Her 17 RBIs this season are first on the team and nearly half of her total from last season (35) through 16 games.
- With Williams home run against Penn State (March 14) and Bates’ home run against Central Connecticut, the outfield has combined for eight of the team’s nine home runs and 37 of the squad’s 67 RBIs (55 percent).
- Bates and Slowinski are currently on five-game hitting streaks.
- Howard, who reached base in a team-high 23 consecutive games last season, has reached safely in 12-straight contests. Williams has reached base in 10-straight games.
- Williams stole a base against Central Connecticut and is now 7-for-7 this season. She is two steals shy (50-for-57) from tying Carla Camino (1990-93) for third on the RU all-time list.
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.