HEMPSTEAD, NY - The Rutgers softball team (16-19; 1-5 BIG EAST) dropped game one of a doubleheader with Hofstra (13-14), 9-2, before ending the Pride’s 20-game home winning steak with a 10-5 victory in the nightcap.
Senior Brielle Cosentino (Carlstadt, NJ) started game two and allowed two earned runs in the complete-game victory to raise her record to 7-4.
In the first inning, senior Megan Antonucci (Warrington, PA) and junior Helen Smith (Tucson, AZ) hit consecutive infield singles and catcher Crystal Vargas (Jersey City, NJ) followed with a walk to load the bases with one out. Junior Stephanie Johannsen (Penn Valley, CA) dribbled a ball back to starting pitcher Callie Osborne whose throw to the catcher was wide, allowing Antonucci to score. Freshman Jessica Crosby (Sedro-Woolley, WA) then drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home Smith and chase Osborne from the game. Vargas scored on a wild pitch by reliever Amy Belonick to make it 3-0 Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights scored three runs in the third in unconventional fashion. With the bases loaded and one out, Belonick hit senior Nicole Casey (Churchville, PA) to bring in Smith and then hit freshman Maggie Geraldi (Russell, IL) one batter later to score Vargas. Senior Brittney Neer (Tallahassee, FL), who finished the game 3-for-4, followed with a single up the middle to make it 6-0.
The Scarlet Knights added three more runs in the sixth, two of which came on a two-run home run off the bat of Vargas, who went 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Smith went 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored.
In game one, senior starter Leah Black (Rocky River, OH) was cruising until the Pride bats came alive with one out and nobody on in the bottom of the fifth. Hofstra loaded the bases and Tara Ulrich delivered a bases-loaded one-out single to knot the game at 2-2. Sophomore Christina Gillman (Valencia, CA) relieved Black and walked the first batter she faced before Hailey Clark laced a double down the left field line to bring home two more runs to give Hofstra a 4-2 lead. Black (6-8) gave up four runs, three earned, over 4.1 innings.
Hofstra tacked on five runs in the sixth on five hits, including two doubles, a triple and a home run to extend its lead to 9-2.
Senior Nikki Childress (Roanoke, VA) wasted no time getting Rutgers on the board by taking the first pitch of the game over the left field fence to give the Scarlet Knights a 1-0 lead. Childress then gave Rutgers a 2-0 lead in the third when she belted her second solo home run of the day over the center field fence. It was Childress’ eighth home run of the year, which tied her own record for home runs in a season.
The Scarlet Knights will return to conference play when they welcome BIG EAST leader Villanova to Piscataway for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 10, at noon.