CLEARWATER, Fla. (March 14, 2014) – Behind timely hitting and a pair of strong pitching performances, the Rutgers softball team defeated Penn State, 4-3, and powered through St. Joseph’s, 10-2, in five innings to sweep its opening day at the Michelle Smith Spring Break Tournament.
RU (7-7) used 11 hits to score 10 runs against St. Joseph’s in its second game of the day at the Eddie C. Moore Complex, crossing all 10 runs within the first three innings. Freshman right-hander Shayla Sweeney (Barrington, N.J.) turned in a gem for the Scarlet Knights, allowing six hits and two earned runs while striking out a career-high seven batters. She improved to 2-3 with the win in her second-career start.
The Hawks picked up two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning after registering half of their hit total in the frame, looking to avoid an early loss. But Sweeney persevered, forcing Isabella Picard to groundout to end the inning. Sweeney shut the door on St. Joseph’s an inning later, getting Cydni Wilson swinging to end the contest after five innings.
A trio of Scarlet Knights recorded multi-hit games against the Hawks, while three different players registered two RBIs. The Scarlet Knights began the contest with back-to-back two-RBI hits sparked by sophomore shortstop Melanie Slowinski (Severn, Md.), who slapped a single up the middle to put RU ahead, 2-0. Freshman Carly Todd (Deptford, N.J.) followed Slowinski up with the first triple of her career and the squad’s second of the season, giving the team a 4-0 advantage.
Five of the team’s hits came in its six-run third inning, namely a two-run double by junior Chandler Howard (Wilmington, Del.). Two St. Joseph’s errors early in the inning allowed the first runs to score, before a walk by senior Alexis Durando (Oakland, N.J.) capped the team’s 10-run performance, allowing Howard to trot home.
The Scarlet Knights began the day by topping future Big Ten rival Penn State, 4-3. The Nittany Lions led RU 1-0 through three and a half innings and again, 2-1, after four and a half. That did not last long, though, as senior rightfielder Loren Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) gave Rutgers the lead for good midway through the bottom of the fifth, cranking a two-run homer over the left centerfield wall to give her team a 4-2 lead.
PSU briefly rallied in the top of the seventh, as the team chipped the Rutgers advantage to 4-3 and brought the go-ahead run to the plate. But junior lefty Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville, Calif.) promptly shut them down, fanning her 10th batter of the contest to seal a Rutgers win. s
Landrith (3-4) tossed her six complete game of the season and allowed two or fewer runs for her fourth-straight outing. The Vacaville HS (Calif.) product has recorded double-digit strikeouts in three of her last four outings.
Rutgers is back in action tomorrow at the Eddie C. Moore Complex, where the team faces Buffalo (4:30 p.m.) and Central Connecticut (6:45 p.m.).
- Williams hit her team-leading third home run of the season against Penn State. The long ball puts her six shy of tying for third on the all-time RU career home run list with Nikki Childress (2003-04).
- Landrith struck out 10 or more batters for the third time this season against Penn State after doing so three times over the course of last season. She is averaging 1.2 strikeouts per inning.
- RU recorded 10 or more runs for the third time this season against St. Joseph’s.
- Junior Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.) went a combined 4-for-5 with four runs, two RBIs and two walks in RU’s first day in Clearwater, Fla. She is hitting .381 this season and .455 in the last four games.
- Three Scarlet Knights recorded multi-hit games on the day: Bates, 2x (2-for-3 with two runs vs. PSU) and (2-for-2 with two runs vs. St. Joseph’s); Howard (2-for-4 with a double vs. St. Joseph’s); and Slowinski (2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs vs. St. Joseph’s).
- Three Scarlet Knights also posted multi-RBI games on the day: Williams (two vs. PSU); Howard (two vs. St. Joseph’s); and Slowinski (two vs. St. Joseph’s); Todd (two vs. St. Joseph’s).
- Freshman Danielle Demarco (Brookfield, Conn.) notched her first-career hit against the Hawks.
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