VILLANOVA, Pa. (April 3, 2014) – Dominant pitching and a trio of long balls guided the Rutgers softball team to a Thursday afternoon sweep of former conference rival Villanova at the Villanova Softball Complex. The Scarlet Knights shut the Wildcats out in 16 combined innings of action, winning 1-0 in 11 innings in the first game and 3-0 in five innings in the second contest. The second game was called due to darkness.
With the wins, the Scarlet Knights (16-10, 1-2 AAC) have now won four-straight games entering their second American Athletic Conference series of the season at UCF from April 5-6.
Junior left-hander Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville, Calif.) picked up the victory in the 3-0 win to improve to 9-4 on the season. She allowed four hits while striking out nine, continuing her torrid strikeout pace.
Senior Loren Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) put the game out of reach for the Wildcats in the top of the fifth, hitting a two-run home run to right center – the squad’s third of the afternoon – to make it a 3-0 game. Landrith then struck out two more batters and forced a groundout to end the contest, which was called after five innings due to darkness.
Senior Alexis Durando (Oakland, N.J.) opened the scoring for Rutgers in the second game, blasting a home run to dead center to give RU a 1-0 lead. It was just her second home run of the season and first since Feb. 15 at UTSA.
In the opener, another RU home run – this time a solo shot by junior Chandler Howard (Wilmington, Del.) –proved to be the difference.
Both teams had opportunities throughout the contest, but the game remained scoreless through 10 innings of play at the Villanova Softball Complex. Howard broke that tie in the top of the 11th, launching a homer – her team-leading fifth of the season – to deep left center for the go-ahead run.
Landrith then came on in the bottom half of the frame to shut the door on the Wildcats, hitting the first batter before retiring three straight to seal the win with her first save of the season.
Freshman right-hander Shayla Sweeney (Barrington, N.J.) tossed 10.0 innings of scoreless softball and allowed just six hits in the win. She did not walk any batters and set new career-highs in innings pitched and batters faced (34).
The Scarlet Knights will travel to Orlando, Fla., this weekend to take on UCF in their second American Athletic Conference series of the season. RU takes on the Knights in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 5 beginning at 1 p.m., then closes the series out on Sunday, April 6 at 11 a.m.
- Following RU’s doubleheader sweep, two Scarlet Knights – Howard and junior Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.) – are hitting above .400 this season. Howard’s average is now at .419, while Bates is hitting .402.
- Bates hit two more doubles on the day to bump her team-leading total to 12. She has hit at least one double in each of the last four games.
- Howard went a combined 5-for-8 with a run and an RBI against Villanova, hitting her team-leading fifth home run of the season. She extended her hitting streak to 13 games.
- Howard’s four hits in the first game are a new career-high.
- Williams hit her fourth home run of the season, giving her 15 for her career as a Scarlet Knight.
- As a team, the Scarlet Knights notched double-digit hits (11) for the eighth time this season and second time in three games.
- Landrith picked up her first save of the season and fifth of her career, tying her with Chrissy Yard (2006-09) for second on the all-time RU list.
- Sweeney’s 10.0 innings pitched are the most in a single game by an RU player since at least the 2004 season.
- Bates tied her single-game high of three hits for the third time of the year.
- Rutgers now leads Villanova, 23-22, after entering the day trailing the all-time series.
- RU hit two home runs in a game for the fourth time this season.
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