WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ - The Rutgers softball team (22-23) extended its win steak to four games following a 6-0 win over Monmouth (14-16) in game one of a doubleheader on April 21, but lost a late-inning lead in game two in its bid to sweep the Hawks, falling 4-3 in the nightcap.
Sophomore Christina Gillman (Valencia, CA) hurled a complete game, two-hit shutout in Rutgers’ game one 6-0 win. Gillman (4-6), who hasn’t given up a run in her last 12.2 IP, struck out three and walked two.
The Scarlet Knights took a 1-0 lead in the first when senior Brittney Neer (Tallahassee, FL), who reached base on an error, scored from third on an RBI-single by freshman Maggie Geraldi (Russell, IL).
Rutgers broke the game open in fifth, scoring five runs on four hits and a costly Monmouth error. Junior Stephanie Johannsen (Penn Valley, CA), who opened the inning with a single, scored on a Nichole Cruz (Bremerton, WA) single through the left side to make it 2-0. Cruz then came in to score after senior Nikki Childress (Roanoke, VA) dribbled a ball to the left side of the infield that was thrown away by the short stop.
After Neer reached on a fielder’s choice, she and Childress executed a double steal and Childress scored to make it 4-0 Rutgers. Junior Crystal Vargas (Jersey City, NJ) then hit a two-run home run into the left field foul pole to give the Scarlet Knights a 6-0 lead. Neer finished with two runs scored and two stolen bases, while Cruz went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
Game two starter Jessica Crosby (Sedro-Woolley, WA) was cruising through five innings with a two-hitter, but the Monmouth bats came alive in the sixth. Dawn Gilcrest led off the inning with a single and Sue Micchelli reached base on an error. Amanda Smith followed with a single to score Gilcrest, and one batter later, Heather Gordon hit a three-run home run to give the Hawks a 4-3 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Rutgers struck first in the game after Vargas scored from first base on a two-out double by junior Jenny Card (Miami, FL) which put the Scarlet Knights ahead 1-0 in the fourth. RU added a pair of runs in the sixth. Neer tripled to open the inning and scored on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 2-0. Later in the inning, Vargas singled, moved to second on a sacrifice and scored on a single up the middle from Johannsen to make the score 3-0. Vargas went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
RU will return home for a BIG EAST doubleheader on Saturday, April 24, at 12:00 p.m., against Syracuse.