We've been a bit remiss.
While we’ve talked about baseball, we’ve failed to look at the other diamond over in Piscataway. Jay Nelson’s softball squad has had a rough season thus far. The Knights are 2-10 in B1G and 11-29 overall. Over this past weekend, the squad went 1-2 at Iowa (14-24, 7-7 B1G).
The Iowa series was close, dropping a 2-0 opener, followed by a one run middle game, before taking the closer, 2-0. Shayla Sweeney threw her third complete game shutout for the win on Sunday.
VICTORY! #RUSB 2, Iowa 0.— Rutgers Softball (@RUSoftball) April 16, 2017
Sweeney delivers three straight strike outs in B7 to seal the win!! pic.twitter.com/DEAJVPGYz2
In conference, the Scarlet have faced two of the upper tier squads already. Fourth place Ohio State (26-11, 10-4 B1G) swept the Knights in Columbus and fifth place Nebraska (19-22, 9-5 B1G) also swept the Knights in Piscataway. The Nebraska series was frustrating in that no game was a blowout and the middle game of the three-game set was lost with a barrage of Husker runs late in the game.
The team, though, is facing a double-edged approach to the game. Team batting average is a respectable .277, putting RU in the middle of the conference in hitting. Pitching, on the other hand, has been dreadful. Team ERA is 6.66, last in the conference, and the staff is the only one in the Big Ten without at least 100 strikeouts (97). But, with the exception of Sweeney, who is a senior, the pitching staff is relatively young, leaving hope for the future.
Freshman Taryn Atlee is another bright spot for the Knights. Her .410 BA puts her fifth among Big Ten batters. Junior Rebecca Hall is next on the squad with a .357 BA. Hall also leads the team with 11 homeruns (T-4th in B1G) and 37 RBI.
Rutgers travels to Penn State this weekend for a three-game set against the Lions (16-25, 4-10 B1G). Along with comparable records, PSU has the same issues as Rutgers. The Nitts have a 4.44 team ERA and a team batting average of .270. Friday’s 6:00 pm game will be aired on BTN Plus.
And a quick baseball - and finance - note
So I go to the baseball game last Friday at Bainton Field versus Purdue. I’m on my way out when some random RU fan comments to a Purdue fan how far he came for the game. To which the Purdue fan says, “Well, I like the ticket prices.” Followed by the Rutgers fan saying, “Yeah, a friend came up a few weeks ago for the Maryland series and asked how much the tickets were.” Chuckling and smiles all around.
For those who haven’t picked up the drift yet, Rutgers tickets for baseball and softball cost....zero. There are no ducats for sale.
Tickets for baseball at Purdue’s Alexander Field cost $8 for a reserved chairback and $5 for general admission ($2 for youth). Season tickets - yes, season tickets for baseball! - run you $60 reserved and $30 general admission. You can even get the Fielder’s Choice Flex Pack for $40 which can be used at either baseball or softball. I won’t go into the cost of the suites. Softball is $5 general admission at Bittenger Softball Stadium.
Maryland has similar pricing for baseball while softball is free. An interesting idea for us to consider - Pat, Sarah, ticket office: listen up!! - is something the Twerps call the Maryland Pride pass. One price gets you admission to “Men's Soccer and Women's Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling, Men's Lacrosse, Women's Lacrosse, and Baseball”. For RU, you could have baseball, softball, volleyball, and field hockey. Worth considering.