Thirty games on the road. That was how RU Softball started 2018. And they wrapped those games at 15-15.
It was nice to come home.
The Knights dropped the finale of the three game set against Penn State (6-23, 2-4) but not before taking the first two on Friday and Saturday.
Rutgers took the first game on a chilly, drizzly day, 6-5. In comeback fashion, Rutgers scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to even up its Big Ten record. Senior Rebecca Hall went 3 for 4, including her 200th career hit.
B7 | Hall leads off the inning with a historic hit. Congrats on No. 200, Rebecca Hall, the fourth #RUSB player in history to reach the milestone. pic.twitter.com/eL6S9kU93G— Rutgers Softball (@RUSoftball) March 30, 2018
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. Shortstop Jess Hughes, freshman second baseman Myah Moy and left fielder Hailey Hoklotubbe each had multiple hits. Hughes extended a season-high hit streak to 12 straight games and scored a pair of runs.
Junior Whitney Jones, primarily a starting pitcher, picked up a win in the circle following a strong relief effort (3 inn, 0 R, 1 K).
While Friday afternoon was typical late March yucky weather (yes, yucky is a meterological term), Saturday was sunny and in the low 60’s, a great day for a game. And RU made it a good one for the fans, although a bit tense in the final stanza. Trailing 4-2, Penn State had runners on second and third. You can watch the video below to see what happened next.
With an incredible fielding exhibition, #RUSB prevents the RBI and completes a double play! pic.twitter.com/UMrUfmiW2m— Rutgers Softball (@RUSoftball) March 31, 2018
Whitney Jones went six innings for the win while Bianca Vozenilek pitched the seventh for the save. Junior Jess Hughes extended her hitting streak to 13 games and reached base three times, while senior Rebecca Hall drove in a run and produced her 15th multi-hit game of the season with a 2-for-4 day. Second baseman Meaghan Wells and left fielder Hailey Hoklotubbe added RBIs for Rutgers.
The Easter Sunday finale went the wrong way for the Knights as they gave up runs early and then suffered a four run fourth, ultimately losing 7-3. While winning the first two games, Whitney Jones took the loss in the Sunday contest. She is now 8-7 on the season.
Junior shortstop Jess Hughes stretched her career-long hit streak to 14 straight games with a game-tying RBI single in the second inning and finished 1-for-3 with a walk.
Mid 2 | Whitney Jones comes on and gets the strikeout with the bases loaded to end the inning, but PSU leads 2-0. pic.twitter.com/0rSBLwsGxg— Rutgers Softball (@RUSoftball) April 1, 2018
The Knights are now 17-16, 2-2 B1G as they tuck in a non-conference game at home against St. Joe’s on Wednesday at 4 pm. They then host Ohio State in a three game set on April 6-8 beginning with a 3 pm game on Friday. The Buckeyes (21-8, 2-4 B1G) are coming of a 2-1 homestand against Wisconsin.