SOUTH BEND, Ind. (April 14, 2013) – The Rutgers softball team suffered a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Notre Dame Sunday afternoon at Melissa Cook Stadium, as the Fighting Irish rallied from five down in the seventh inning to take an 8-6 victory in the series finale.
Notre Dame took the first game of the doubleheader, 5-1, earlier in the afternoon.
The Scarlet Knights (23-18, 6-8) led 6-1 entering the final inning, but Notre Dame used seven hits and capitalized on an error to win the contest, the final hit being a three-run, walk-off home run from Cassidy Whidden – her second home run of the series. With the loss RU dropped to 15-2 this season when leading after six innings.
Senior righthander Abbey Houston (New Egypt, N.J.) took the loss in a game that featured all three RU pitchers. Houston took over for starter, Dresden Maddox (Kennesaw, Ga.) after the freshman allowed a pair of runs to cross to begin the inning.
Sophomore Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville, Calif.) then entered the game after Houston and surrendered the home run to Whidden that ended the contest.
Prior to the seventh, RU cruised. Maddox allowed only two hits in her first six innings of work and the Scarlet Knights recorded two runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 6-1 lead.
A monstrous home run by junior Alexis Durando (Oakland, N.J.) in the fifth inning pushed RU’s lead to 6-1. With the blast, Durando tied for the team lead in home runs (six) and added two to her team-leading RBI total (29).
Senior catcher Kaci Madden (Saratoga, N.Y.) blasted a two-run home run of her own down the left field line in the fourth inning, extending RU’s lead to 4-1. The Scarlet Knights crossed a pair of runs an inning earlier, as three consecutive hits, capped by an RBI single off the bat of sophomore Chandler Howard (Wilmington, Del.), gave RU its second lead of the series.
But ND (29-10, 10-1) would come storming back, notching five hits in the seventh to complete the series sweep.
An early deficit plagued the Scarlet Knights in the first game of the afternoon, as Notre Dame scored in the first inning for the second consecutive game. The Irish improved to 15-0 this season when scoring in the first inning.
Landrith took the loss, going 4.1 innings, and allowing 10 hits, five earned runs and two walks. Houston allowed two hits 1.2 innings of shutout ball in relief of Landrith.
ND’s Laura Winter held the Scarlet Knights’ bats in check all game long, allowing only five hits in the one-run outing.
Back-to-back hits by Howard and Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.) got RU on the board in the top of the sixth inning. Following a single by Howard, Bates drilled a stand up double off the center field wall, playing Howard from first bases and cutting the ND lead to 5-1.
The Irish took a 3-0 lead in the second inning courtesy of a two-run blast to left field by Casey Africano. – her second in as many at-bats. ND crossed a run in the first inning for the second consecutive game, improving to 15-0 when scoring first.
The Scarlet Knights return to Piscataway, N.J., on Wednesday to host Stony Brook in a doubleheader. The games are scheduled for 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding Rutgers softball, follow the program on Twitter (@RUSoftball). Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on our social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.