PISCATAWAY, N.J. – On an emotional day at the RU Softball Complex, the Scarlet Knights earned a split with BIG EAST-leader #25 South Florida, as Pat Willis closed out her 27-year tenure as head coach. Rutgers (15-37, 5-17 BIG EAST) triumphed over the Bulls (47-22, 17-3 BIG EAST) by a score of 2-1 in game one, but fell in the night cap by the same score.
Also bidding farewell to the Rutgers softball program was senior Christina Gillman (Valencia, CA), who was honored by her teammates and coaches in a pre-game ceremony.
The first game remained scoreless into the bottom of the third inning. Freshman Brittany Loisel (Gilbert, AZ) singled to left field and advanced to second on the throw, putting freshman Amanda Heller (Belle Mead, NJ), who hit an infield single, on third base with just one out. Junior Kristin Madoch (Glenview, IL) then took a two-out pitch and slapped it down the left field line, scoring Heller and Loisel.
South Florida got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning on a solo home run by Britta Giddens, but it was not enough as Rutgers picked up the 2-1 victory.
Gillman worked four innings and earned the win (6-10) in her final collegiate start. She gave up just one hit and one run while retiring 12 of the 14 batters she faced. Junior Jessica Crosby (Sedro-Woolley, WA) relieved Gillman in the fifth inning and worked her way out of a two-on, two-out jam in the top of the sixth inning when she got Tiffany Stewart to ground out to third base. She had given up a walk to Samantha Ray and an infield single to Christie Chapman but escaped the inning without any damage. Crosby retired the Bulls in order in the seventh inning to earn her first save of the season.
In game two, Rutgers loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the third inning and cashed in when freshman Amanda Shaw (Yorba Linda, CA) singled through the left side and scored fellow classmate Christina Yard (Hillsborough, NJ). South Florida struck for a pair of runs in the fourth inning to regain the lead and the eventual win. Laura Wolf delivered a two-RBI double down the left field line, scoring Ashley Bullion and Stewart for the 2-1 victory.
At the conclusion of both games, Senior Associate Athletic Director Natalie Migliaro presented Willis with a commemorative plaque for her loyal service and contributions of nearly three decades.
The Scarlet Knights completed the 2006 campaign with a 15-37 overall record and 5-17 mark in BIG EAST Conference play.