PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 9, 2013) – The Rutgers softball team travels to Villanova, Pa., on Wednesday, April 9, to face BIG EAST foe Villanova in a conference doubleheader. The contests mark the first of six games in a busy week for the Scarlet Knights, who return home the following day, Thursday, April 11, to face in-state rival Princeton.
The opening contest of RU’s Wednesday doubleheader is set for 1 p.m., with first pitch for game two scheduled for 3 p.m. On Thursday, the Scarlet Knights’ will host their Route One rivals, Princeton, at 3:30 p.m. at the RU Softball Complex. The game will be broadcast live on scarletknights.com by RVision, presented by AT&T. Danny Breslauer will be on the play-by-play call.
RU (21-14, 5-4) looks to win its third consecutive BIG EAST series when it takes on Villanova (13-22, 1-8). The Scarlet Knights won their last two conference series against Georgetown and Connecticut, and currently sit in fifth place in the conference standings.
Behind the bat of junior first baseman Alexis Durando (Oakland, N.J.) and the arm of sophomore pitcher Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville, Calif.) the Scarlet Knights posted a 3-2 record last week. The squad took one of two from Hofstra, which boasts the No. 34 RPI nationally, and edged Georgetown in consecutive contests after dropping the series opener.
Not only did the Scarlet Knights earn their first victory over Hofstra in nine years, but they did so against National Fastpitch Coaches Association/ Louisville Slugger Pitcher of the Week, Olivia Galati. Galati registered a 4-1 week with an 0.19 ERA and 62 strikeouts, as her only blemish came in extra innings against the Scarlet Knights, courtesy of Durando's game-winning home run.
Durando earned BIG EAST Weekly accolades for a 9-17 (.529) week, notching two home runs, a grand slam, eight RBIs, three doubles and six runs scored. Landrith went 2-0 on the week, recording her second save of the season to improve her record to 12-8.
Villanova enters the doubleheader after dropping two of three against Notre Dame (26-9, 7-1), which the Scarlet Knights face next in conference play. In the second game of the series, the Wildcats took a 1-0 victory to snap a 17-game conference winning streak by the Irish. A solo home run by Ali Lowe, who is second on the Wildcats with a .303 batting average, in the fourth inning proved to be the difference in the contest, as the Wildcats’ Kate Pope went 7.0 innings and allowed just six hits in shutout fashion.
Pope spearheads Villanova’s staff with a 13-12 record and 2.39 ERA. RU is 20-21 all-time against the Wildcats.
Prior to that series, the Wildcats battled Princeton on Tuesday, April 2, and lost 4-1. It was the first win over a BIG EAST opponent this season for the Tigers, who are 1-3 against BIG EAST schools. Seven Princeton batters have batting averages of .300 or better, and comprise the No. 38 lineup in the country. The Tigers hit .309 as a team.
Alyssa Schmidt leads Princeton with a .407 batting average in 23 games started, while Alex Peyton is hitting .351 in 30 games started. Peyton leads the Tigers in home runs (six), RBIs (26) and slugging percentage (.617).
Princeton holds a 30-22 series advantage over Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights have won the past three meetings and seven of the last eight.
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