PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The Rutgers softball team (13-34) pounded out a combined 25 hits and scored 20 runs in a doubleheader sweep of St. Francis (NY) on Tuesday at the RU Softball Complex. RU won the first game 11-4 and then took the nightcap, 9-1.
In the first game, Kaitlyn Valiante (Mt. Laurel, NJ) got the Scarlet Knights off to a quick start when she hit a two-run homer to left field in the first inning. Kristin Madoch (Glenview, IL), who scored on the play, had doubled to left center field with two outs to keep the inning alive.
St. Francis answered with three runs in the top of the second on a two-run double by Kim Peocida and RBI single from Amanda Pileggi. On the first pitch in the bottom of the third, however, Madoch blasted a homer over the center field fence to tie the game at 3-3.
Starting pitcher Christina Gillman (Valencia, CA) worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fifth inning by getting a sacrifice bunt and then striking out Amanda Devan. Amanda Shaw (Yorba Linda, CA) led off the bottom of the fifth with a triple to right center field and scored on a throwing error by the shortstop, giving RU a 4-3 lead. Kim Hodges (Houston, TX) extended the lead to 5-3 on an RBI single and Shantai Dixon (Sayerville, NJ) pushed another run across when her sacrifice bunt scored Valiante. The Scarlet Knights scored their seventh run when Amanda Heller (Belle Mead, NJ) singled up the middle, scoring Hodges.
Rutgers tacked on four insurance runs in the sixth inning when Sarah Kalka (Monroe Valley, CA) stroked a two-run triple to right-center field and Hodges also hit a RBI triple. Dixon added the game’s final run with an RBI singles through the right side.
Gillman earned the win (5-9) in game one, going seven innings, scattering six hits while striking out eight. Seven different players finished with at least one hit, led by Madoch, who went 3-for-3 with an RBI and four runs scored.
In the second game, the Scarlet Knights struck for four runs on five hits in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by a RBI single from Dixon and a fielder’s choice that scored Kalka. In the second inning, Kalka belted a solo home run over the right centerfield fence and Valiante followed with a solo homer to right field that made the score 6-0.
Kalka opened the bottom of the fourth inning with a triple down the right field line and scored on a wild pitch. Dixon then laced a one-out double to right center that scored Valiante and Christina Yard (Hillsborough, NJ). Nicole Freeman (Sandy, UT) was the winning pitcher, giving up just one hit and one run over five innings. She retired the first 12 batters she faced. Dixon drove in three runs in the game and went 2-for-3 while Valiante also had two hits and scored two runs.
Rutgers returns to action on Saturday, May 6, when it hosts BIG EAST foe Louisville in a doubleheader beginning at noon.