HOUSTON, Texas (May 3, 2014) – The Rutgers softball team split a Saturday doubleheader against Houston at Cougar Softball Stadium, taking a 1-0 win in 10 innings in the opener and falling, 7-2, in the second game of the afternoon.
The Game Two loss snapped RU’s winning streak at six games, as the Scarlet Knights (27-17, 9-8 American) look to finish at least 10 games above .500 for the first time since 1995 with a win Sunday in the series finale.
American Athletic Conference Championships Update
Regardless of what happens Sunday, the Scarlet Knights are locked into the No. 5 seed for the upcoming American Athletic Conference Softball Championships, scheduled for May 8-10 in Houston. The No. 3 seed, however, is not yet locked up.
If Houston defeats Rutgers and Louisville loses its series finale against Memphis Sunday, UH and UofL would end the regular season at 13-8 in conference play. In that scenario, Houston would overtake the No. 3 seed, since the Cougars swept the Cardinals earlier this season. That would set the Scarlet Knights up with an opening-round matchup against Louisville (32-20, 13-7 American).
RU got on the board first in the second game of the afternoon, using an RBI-walk from sophomore Stephanie Huang (Paramus, N.J.) to take a 1-0 edge. From there, though, it was all Houston, which used 10 hits on the afternoon while taking advantage of two RU errors to win, 7-2.
Houston responded to the 1-0 Rutgers lead with five runs over the first two innings of action, scoring three of them with a pair of homers. The Cougars got a boost with a solo home run from Selena Hernandez to open the game and later received a two-run blast from Hayley Outon in the second to make it a 5-1 lead.
The Cougars (31-21, 12-8 American) added another two runs in the fourth, holding Rutgers to five hits in the contest for the win. The Scarlet Knights’ only other run of the game came off the bat of junior Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.), who hit a solo home run in the fifth.
Freshman right-hander Shayla Sweeney (Barrington, N.J.) took the loss, going 3.1 innings. Sweeney (9-9) allowed eight hits, seven runs – five earned – and two walks.
Sophomore right-hander Dresden Maddox (Kennesaw, Ga.) tossed a solid 2.2 shutout innings in relief of Sweeney, allowing just two hits.
Rutgers outlasted the Cougars in the first game of the doubleheader, winning 1-0 in 10 innings. With Bates on third base and two outs in the top of the 10th, freshman Carly Todd (Deptford, N.J.) perfectly executed a squeeze play, allowing the charging Bates to score. Todd legged it out for a bunt single, which counted the run and gave junior left-hander Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville, Calif.) all she needed to secure the win.
Landrith came back out for the bottom of the 10th and got Houston to go 1-2-3, capping one of the best outings of her Rutgers career. She went a career-high 10 innings, allowing just four hits and no runs. The lefty struck out five of her career-high 35 batters faced.
The Scarlet Knights close their series with Houston tomorrow, May 4 at 1 p.m. EST at Cougar Softball Stadium.
- Rutgers’ 27-17 record and .614 winning percentage rank among the best marks in school history. The 2014 team’s winning percentage is the highest since the 1995 team went 30-17 (.638). That team was also the last squad to finish 10 more or more games above .500. With a win Sunday, RU would become the first team in 19 years to finish 10 games above .500.
- Regardless of Sunday’s outcome, RU will finish the 2014 regular season with its best conference winning percentage since the 1998 squad went 10-5 (.666) in the BIG EAST. That was also the last season in which RU won double-digit league games.
- As a team the Scarlet Knights are three home runs shy of tying the 2011 team with 36 – the most in RU’s single-season history.
- RU improved to 5-0 in extra inning contests this season with its 1-0 series-opening win over the Cougars.
- With their victory in the series opener, the Scarlet Knights tied their season-best six-game winning streak from March 14-16 earlier this season. The winning streak was snapped with a 7-2 loss in Game Two.
- The Game One shutout was the Scarlet Knights’ eighth this season and Landrith’s 21st in her career. She is three shutouts away from tying Kelley Gallagher (1985-88) for third on the RU all-time list with 24.
- Bates has reached base in each of the last 27 games – a team-high.
- Senior Alexis Durando (Oakland, N.J.) walked once in the series opener for her 33rd free pass this is season. She is three walks away from tying Amanda Heller (2008) for the most walks in RU single-season history.
- Sophomore Stephanie Huang (Paramus, N.J.) had an 11-game hitting streak snapped in the second game Saturday.
- Junior Chandler Howard (Wilmington, Del.) had a 12-game hitting streak snapped in the first game against Houston Saturday.
- Bates and Durando each played in the 150th game in their Rutgers career in the series opener. Senior Loren Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) is six shy of 200 games played for her career.
- Bates is now six RBIs shy (38) of tying Sharon Morris (1993, 1995) for third on RU’s single-season list after knocking in a run in the 5-0 win over the Huskies. The 38 RBIs is a new career-high and ties for the second-most RBIs by an RU player in the last 10 seasons.
- Bates’ eighth home run this season in the fifth inning was also the 17th of her career. With three more home runs she would tie Nikki Childress (2003-04) for third on the Rutgers all-time list.
- Howard is two hits shy of tying Williams for the third-most hits in a single season (62). Williams notched 62 hits last season for RU.
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