PISCATAWAY, NJ - After handing BIG EAST leader Villanova its first conference loss of the season last weekend, the Rutgers softball team (18-21; 2-6 BIG EAST) returns to league play looking to climb up in the conference standings when it hosts Connecticut (16-16; 1-5 BIG EAST) on Saturday, April 17, and Boston College (24-16; 4-4 BIG EAST) on Sunday, April 18. Both doubleheaders begin at noon.
With only two non-conference match-ups remaining this season, and four of their six league foes coming to Piscataway, the Scarlet Knights are entering a critical portion of their BIG EAST schedule.
Rutgers is coming off of a split with Rider in which freshman pitcher Jessica Crosby (Sedro-Woolley, WA) earned her first career win as RU defeated the Broncs 2-0 in game two. Crosby scattered four hits over five innings while striking out seven and went 2-for-2 at the plate.
Junior Helen Smith (Tucson, AZ) upped her team-high average to .374 after going 4-for-7 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI against Rider. In the BIG EAST rankings, as of April 12, Smith is sixth in hitting, 10th in hits and ninth in on-base percentage.
Senior Brittany Neer (Tallahassee, FL) has also picked up her game as of late. Over the last five games, Neer is 6-for-14 (.429) with five RBI, two doubles, a triple and three stolen bases. She is now tied for third on the Rutgers all-time singles list with 132 and, with her two stolen bases against Villanova, she is now the BIG EAST all-time stolen base leader in conference only statistics with 24.
Last season, RU swept the Eagles in Chestnut Hill, MA, but dropped both of its games to UConn in Storrs, CT. UConn is coming off of a doubleheader sweep of Central Connecticut on April 15, while BC fell to UMass on April 15, 4-0, and will travel to Villanova for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 17, before arriving in Piscataway.