After three consecutive losing seasons, the Rutgers softball team has steadily improved under first year head coach Kristen Butler. This past weekend, they produced its first Big Ten series sweep since 2016 by taking all three games against Penn State in Happy Valley. The Scarlet Knights outscored PSU 14-4 over the three contests. They won Friday’s series opener 6-1, followed by 5-3 and 3-0 victories in a doubleheader on Saturday.
Freshman Corah Price threw a 1-hit complete game shutout on just 71 pitches in the 3-0 win. She also threw four innings of scoreless relief in the other victory on Saturday. Price is now 11-6 with a 3.02 ERA in her first collegiate season.
Offensively, senior shortstop Jess Hughes has now reached base in 12 straight games. She is the team leader in batting average (.387), on-base percentage (.490) slugging percentage (.714), doubles (14), and steals (19).
In addition, freshman catcher Katie Wingert hit two home runs over the weekend and has a team best 13 for the season, which is also second best in the Big Ten. She also leads Rutgers with 37 RBI’s and has 10 multi-RBI games this season. Wingert was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday, the first for the program in four years.
Rutgers is now 20-19 on the season, having already exceeded last year’s win total with 12 regular season games remaining. The Scarlet Knights are 4-8 in Big Ten play and are tied for 9th place with Nebraska. Their performance over the weekend was recognized by Softball America. RU also put together a 7 game winning streak back in March. Overall, it’s been a step forward this season under Butler with the opportunity for more progress ahead.
Next up is a three game home series against last place Iowa (16-21; 2-10) on April 19th through 21st, giving Rutgers a chance to continue to move up the Big Ten standings.