PISCATAWAY, NJ - The Rutgers softball team (23-26; 6-10) endured off and on rain storms but dropped both halves of a doubleheader to Notre Dame (39-13; 6-10) on April 25. The Scarlet Knights battled back in game one but fell 8-5, and held a 1-0 lead late in game two before the Fighting Irish prevailed 4-2.
Notre Dame got the scoring started in the first inning of game one when Mallorie Lenn doubled down the left field line to plate two runs and added two more in the second inning when Nicole deFau hit a two-run double of her own down the left field to give the Irish a 4-0 lead after two innings.
After Notre Dame starter Heather Booth (19-5) retired the first 10 batters of the game, the Rutgers bats came alive in the fourth. Senior Nichole Cruz (Bremerton, WA) beat out an infield single and junior Helen Smith (Tucson, AZ) followed with a single down the right field line as both runners moved up a base on the throw to third. After senior Nikki Childress (Roanoke, VA) reached on a fielder’s choice and Cruz was thrown out at the plate to put runners on first and third, Booth uncorked a wild pitch and Smith came in to score. Senior Brittney Neer (Tallahassee, FL) then laid a bunt single down the first-base line to score Childress and cut the Irish lead to 4-2.
Notre Dame got the two runs back in the top of the fifth, but RU responded with a rally of its own in the bottom half of the inning. Junior Jenny Card (Miami, FL) led off the inning with a solo home run to center and pinch hitter Courtney Love (Houston, TX) followed with a single through the right side to chase Booth from the game. Junior Stephanie Johannsen (Penn Valley, CA) greeted new pitcher Carrie Wisen with a single, but Love was thrown out trying to go to third. Senior Megan Antonucci (Warrington, PA) then singled to right and Johannsen scored to pull the Scarlet Knights to within two, 6-4.
RU made it 6-5 in the sixth after junior Crystal Vargas (Jersey City, NJ) drew a one-out walk, stole second and scored as Card singled through the right side. Three batters later, Antonucci dribbled a single to the shortstop, but pinch runner Christina Gillman (Valencia, CA) was thrown out at the plate as she attempted to score the tying run. The Irish put the game out of reach as Liz Hartmann hit a two-run home run to give ND an 8-5 lead.
Card went 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI, while Johannsen finished game one 2-for-3 with a run scored. Senior Brielle Cosentino (Carlstadt, NJ) (8-7) took the loss for the Scarlet Knights, giving up four earned runs in five innings.
Senior starter Leah Black (Rocky River, OH) (9-10) was sharp for most of game two, but Notre Dame rallied to score four two-out runs in the seventh inning to defeat RU 4-2. With Rutgers leading 1-0, Stephanie Brown had the big blow in the inning when she hit a two-run double into the gap to give the Irish a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. RU had taken a 1-0 lead in third after Cruz hit an infield single which scored freshman Maggie Geraldi (Russell, IL).
The Scarlet Knights will play their final home games of the year when they host Delaware in doubleheader action on Wednesday, April 28, at 3:00 p.m.