PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 4, 2013) – Sophomore Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.) erased a one-run deficit in the bottom of the eighth inning to keep the Rutgers softball team alive, then stepped up an inning later and smacked the game-winning single to give RU a 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh Saturday at the RU Softball Complex.
With the victory RU maintained the eighth and qualifying spot for the BIG EAST Championships, scheduled for May 9-11 in Tampa, Fla.
The Panthers bested the Scarlet Knights (30-25, 8-13), 2-1 in the doubleheader opener, making tomorrow’s series finale a win-and-in game for RU. The series finale, scheduled for noon, will be broadcast live on RVision, presented by AT&T. Danny Breslauer will be on the play-by-play call. Fans can tune into the live action at scarletknights.com.
Pitt (18-29, 7-14) is currently 10th and behind No. 9 Connecticut in the conference standings. The Panthers would need to win tomorrow and losses by UConn and Seton Hall (20-29, 7-13) to ascend to the No. 8 and final qualifying spot for the conference tournament.
Connecticut’s 3-2, extra inning victory in its doubleheader opener against DePaul eliminated St. John’s (16-34-1, 6-14) from BIG EAST Championship contention. The Huskies own the tiebreaker after sweeping the Red Storm earlier this season and would have the same amount of wins with the Johnnies regardless if they sweep Villanova and UConn loses its series finale against DePaul.
Prior to the first game of the afternoon, the Scarlet Knights honored their four graduating seniors - Ashley Bragg (Middletown, Del.), Jennifer Harabedian (Flemington, N.J.), Abbey Houston (New Egypt, N.J.) and Kaci Madden (Saratoga, N.Y.).
With the victory, RU reached the 30-win mark for the first time since 1995, becoming only the fourth team in the program’s 38-year history to do so.
A pair of clutch hits by Bates proved to be the difference in the second game of the doubleheader, as the sophomore outfielder guided the Scarlet Knights to a huge, 4-3 victory in nine innings. RU needed to win the contest to stay in the hunt for its fourth consecutive BIG EAST Tournament berth, and overcame a one-run deficit in the eighth on a Bates double before sealing the win with her bases-loaded single in the ninth.
Pitt took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth inning after a pair of singles and a Scarlet Knights error allowed a run to cross. The Panthers Jordan Fannin delivered the RBI single with one out and the bases loaded to give Pitt a one-run advantage.
With the bases still loaded, sophomore Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville, Calif.) shut the door, retiring the next two batters to escape the inning down just one run. The lefthander entered the game in the fifth inning and closed it out for the Scarlet Knights, going 4.0 innings and allowing three hits and one earned run in her 17th victory of the season. Landrith also fanned four batters in the outing.
The Panthers tied the contest at 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning an inning after Landrith took over for senior righthander Abbey Houston (New Egypt, N.J.). Houston went 5.0 innings, allowing seven hits and one earned run. She walked three and struck out four in the no decision.
Up to that point, RU held a 2-1 lead courtesy of an RBI single by sophomore Chandler Howard (Wilmington, Del.) in the bottom of the fifth inning. Her hit plated junior Loren Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.), who scored two runs in the win.
The Scarlet Knights suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the opening game of the doubleheader, as a two-run third inning by Pitt allowed the Panthers to take a 2-1 win. Landrith took the loss in the complete-game outing, allowing two runs off eight hits. She set a new career-high with 12 strikeouts.
The Panthers notched four hits in the third inning to plate what would prove to be the game-winning runs. Pitcher Savannah King led off the inning with a single, before senior Holly Steven slapped a two-RBI single to center to give the Panthers the lead. The ball landed just out of the reach of a diving Bates, who could not close the distance on the bloop single.
King held RU to just three hits in a complete-game outing, allowing one runs and one walk in the victory. RU got on the board in the second inning of play, as freshman Melanie Slowinski (Severn, Md.) singled to plate Harabedian. But the Scarlet Knights could not find the equalizer later in the contest, as King retired 12 of 13 batters to seal the win after Pitt took the lead.
The series finale is scheduled for noon tomorrow at the RU Softball Complex. The game will be broadcast live on RVision, presented by AT&T. Danny Breslauer will be on the play-by-play call. Fans will be able to catch the action live at scarletknights.com.
- The Scarlet Knights reached the 30-win plateau for the fourth time in the school’s 38-year history and continue their best season of Jay Nelson’s tenure.
- With 16 combined strikeouts in 11.0 innings of work Saturday, Landrith (188) is now three strikeouts shy of the single season mark (191) set by Leah Black in 2001.
- With her 11.0 innings of work, Landrith moved into the No. 3 spot on the single-season innings pitched list with 195.1 this season. She also owns the No. 2 spot, set during her rookie campaign (2012), when she tossed 202.2 innings.
- With one hit Saturday, Williams is now one shy of tying for third on the single-season list. Brittney Lindley, hit 62 in 2011 to move into the No. 3 spot.
- Williams surpassed the former single-season at-bats mark of 189 set by Carla Camino in 1993. She has 193 on the season.
- After an RBI-double in Game Two, Bates (13) is now two doubles shy of the No. 3 mark of 15 set by Adele Calimer in 1989.
- RU has 218 RBIs as a team this season, one shy of tying the 1999 Scarlet Knights for third on the all-time single-season list.
- RU improved to 2-4 in extra innings this season with the victory.
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