NORTHRIDGE, Calif. (March 3, 2014) – The Rutgers softball team was swept in its final day at the CSUN Invitational, playing two games on Sunday after having its first four games of the tournament canceled due to inclement weather. RU fell, 2-0, to Portland State in its opening game Sunday, before dropping a 7-5 contest to Cal-State Northridge in its second contest at Matador Field.
The Scarlet Knights (5-7) trailed, 3-0, after the first frame, but chipped away at the lead over the next two innings to tie the contest, 3-3. RU tacked on a run in the top of the second, followed by a two-RBI double from junior Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.) in the top of the third to make it a 3-3 ballgame. Bates has knocked in a team-leading 14 runs this season.
After the Matadors (9-8) took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, RU responded with a pair of hits to jump ahead, 5-3. With two outs and runs on first and second, senior Loren Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) cleared the bases with a triple – the first three-bagger of her career.
However, a walk, hit by pitch and fielding error proved costly in the bottom half of the sixth inning, as CSUN tacked on two hits to plate a three runs and win by the final score of 7-5.
Freshman Shayla Sweeney (Barrington, N.J.) took the loss in the outing, going 5.2 innings and allowing five hits and one earned run. Four of the CSUN runs were unearned as a result of two RU errors.
Sophomore Dresden Maddox (Kennesaw, Ga.) started the game for the Scarlet Knights but left after retiring one batter in the bottom of the first inning.
The Scarlet Knights fell, 2-0, in their first game Sunday against Portland State, as Vikings’ pitcher Karyn Wright tossed a complete game five-hitter to blank RU for the first time this season.
A two-run home run by Portland State’s Crysta Conn in the top of the fourth inning was the difference in the contest, giving junior lefty Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville, Calif.) the loss. Landrith (2-4) went the distance for the fifth time this season and allowed just four hits, but Conn’s homer proved costly for the Scarlet Knights. The Vacaville HS (Calif.) product struck out 11 in the outing for the second time this season – one shy of tying her career-high.
RU threatened in the bottom of the first inning, as Williams led the game off with a single. Williams eventually moved the third after a sac-fly by senior Alexis Durando (Oakland, N.J.) advanced freshman Carly Todd (Deptford, N.J.) to second, as well. But Wright forced a groundout one batter later to escape the jam and keep the game at 0-0.
The Scarlet Knights had runners on second and third in the final frame of the contest after a double by sophomore Stephanie Huang (Paramus, N.J.) put her on second and classmate Jordan Whitley (Clayton, Del.) on third with one out. But once again, Wright buckled down, retiring two straight batters to end the contest and complete the shutout.
Rutgers returns to action on Wednesday, March 12, when the Scarlet Knights host Hampton in their season-opening contests at the RU Softball Complex. The doubleheader is set to begin at 2:30 p.m.
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