PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Rutgers softball team will kick off its spring break trip when it plays Drexel on Saturday, March 10, in Philadelphia, Pa. The Scarlet Knights will then fly to Boca Raton, Fla. to face off Florida Atlantic University on Sunday, March 11, at 3:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, March 13, RU will play Florida International University in Miami at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, March 16 marks the beginning of the FAU Tournament in Boca Raton, in which the Scarlet Knights will first face the University of Massachusetts at 9:00 a.m., followed by a game with Texas A&M at 1:00 p.m. On the second day of the tournament, Saturday, March 17, RU will play Quinnipiac at 9:00 a.m. and will then face off against host FAU at 6:00 p.m.
The semifinals and finals of the tournament are scheduled for Sunday, March 18, at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., respectively.
Rutgers is coming off a 2-2 performance at the UNC Tournament last weekend, opening the event with a 12-10 win over Appalachian State on March 2. Senior Kristin Madoch (Glenview, Ill.) hit her second home run of the season, while sophomore Kaitlyn Valiante (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) drilled her first homer to lead RU to the win. Madoch finished 3-for-5 on the day with two RBI, while junior Mallory Miller (Anaheim, Calif.) also had three hits and a pair of RBI. Sophomores Sarah Kalka (Moreno Valley, N.J.), Kim Hodges (Houston, Texas) and Valiante all tallied two hits on the day.
Senior Jess Crosby (Mill Creek, Wash.) won her first game of the season on the mound for RU, pitching 3.2 innings and tallying three strikeouts, while allowing four hits. Freshman Nicole Lindley (Cicero, N.Y.) came in for 1.2 innings of relief, tallying two strikeouts and allowing four hits.
In the Scarlet Knights' victory over Fairfield on March 3, senior Nicole Freeman (Sandy, Utah) pitched a complete game, striking out four batters and allowing just five hits. Sophomore Amanda Shaw (Yorba Linda, Calif.) went 3-for-3 and scored two runs, while Miller had two hits, including her second home run of the year, and a season-high four RBI. Miller had a double, as did sophomores Brittany Loisel (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Hodges.
In the second game, on March 3rd, a 5-3 loss to North Carolina, the Scarlet Knights were led by Lindley, who went 3-for-3, including her first career home run, and three RBI against North Carolina. Shaw, Hodges and Loisel all had one hit against the Tar Heels
The Rutgers softball team closed out the tournament with a 7-3 loss to Liberty University Sunday, March 4. Amanda Heller (Belle Mead, N.J.), Shaw and Loisel all collected hits for the Scarlet Knights. Kalka and Heller both had doubles in the game, while Shaw, Kalka and Loisel accounted for RU's three runs.
Sophomore Chrissy Yard (Hillsborough, N.J.) took the loss for the Scarlet Knights (4-10), allowing four hits and three earned runs in 1.1 innings. Freeman and Crosby both came in as relief, Freeman striking out two in 2.2 innings and Crosby retiring one batter in 1.1 innings of work.
Hodges leads the team, batting .375 with 12 hits, including three doubles. Shaw is second on the team with a .333 average, collecting a team-best 16 hits in 48 at-bats as the Scarlet Knights' lead-off hitter. Miller is second on the team with 14 hits and has a .304 average on the season, including nine RBI, while Kalka leads the team with 10 RBI and has 12 hits on the season.