PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 30, 2018)
– Rutgers softball (16-15, 1-1) erased a three-run deficit and scored the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Penn State (5-22, 1-3) by a score of 6-5 in the 2018 home opener on a rainy Friday afternoon at the RU Softball Complex.
Senior first baseman Rebecca Hall
stamped a 3-for-4 day with a historic hit, as her single to lead off the seventh was hit No. 200 for her career, marking the fourth time in program history that milestone has been reached. Hall added a two-run home run in the third, a double in the fifth, and scored the game-tying run in the seventh.
Freshman Erin Collins
hit her second career home run, a solo shot in the fourth, and provided the walk-off RBI groundout in the bottom of the seventh. Junior shortstop Jess Hughes
, freshman second baseman Myah Moy
and sophomore left fielder Hailey Hoklotubbe
joined Hall in the multi-hit department, while Hughes extended a season-high hit streak to 12 straight games and scored a pair of runs.
Junior Whitney Jones
, the Scarlet Knights' innings leader primarily as a starting pitcher, this time picked up a win in the circle following a lights-out relief effort. Jones hurled the final three scoreless innings, allowing just two baserunners on a walk and an error while striking out one. Jones moves to 7-6 on the year.
The Scarlet Knights were playing from behind the entire game with Penn State going up 2-0 on a two-run home run before an out was recorded. The Nittany Lions stretched the lead to 3-0 in the second before Hall tightened things up with her two-run homer in the third.
Penn State regained the three-run lead, however, with another pair of scores in the fourth, but Collins didn't let PSU get comfortable with her solo home run down the left field line in the bottom of the frame. With momentum swinging, senior catcher Sierra Maddox
nearly tied the game in the bottom of the fifth with a single that scored one run, and ended with an out at the plate on the outfield assist.
Trailing 5-4 and down to three outs, Hall's 200th career hit got things started before Moy's single up the middle. With the runners advanced on a passed ball, sophomore right fielder Nicole Bowman
tied the game on an RBI fielder's choice as everyone reached safely. Still with no outs, Maddox walked to load the bases to set up Collins' game-winning RBI groundout.
• Hall becomes the fourth player in Rutgers softball history to reach the 200 career hit milestone, joining Chandler Howard (211 - 2012-15), Sharron Morris (213 – 1993-96) and Carla Camino (233 – 1990-93).
• With her double, Hall moves into fourth place all-time with 43 career two-baggers, tying Jackie Bates (2012-15).
• Hall hit her 28th career home run, while Collins launched the second of her freshman campaign.
• Rutgers came back to win in the seventh inning for the second time this season (March 18 vs. Bucknell) and the second time in as many seasons against Penn State (April 23, 2017).
• RU improves to 12-0 when scoring six or more runs.
• Friday's win marked the Scarlet Knights' fifth this season when trailing after five innings.
• Rutgers has hit at least one home run in 12 of its 16 wins this season.
The Penn State series continues on Saturday, March 31 at 1 p.m. from the RU Softball Complex.
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