The Rutgers softball team came from behind in both games at home against Maryland on Tuesday to complete a midweek sweep and continue its climb up the Big Ten standings.
In the first game, Freshman pitcher Corah Price improved to 13-7 on the season by throwing a 1 run, 5 hit complete game. With Rutgers trailing 1-0 and hitless through the first four innings, Price kept them in the game before two other freshmen stepped up. Penelope Russ tied the game with her first collegiate hit in the fifth before fellow rookie Aleah Marra hit a double to give the Scarlet Knights a lead in the sixth. Soon after, junior Nicole Bowman registered her 100th career hit at Rutgers with a two-run bases loaded single, clinching a 4-1 victory.
Maryland once again held Rutgers hitless through four innings in game two and jumped out to a 6-0 lead. However, the Scarlet Knights didn’t give up and stormed back. Senior shortstop Jess Hughes got Rutgers going with a two-run single in the fifth inning. Sophomore Erin Collins hit a two-run single of her own to cut the Terps lead to 6-5 in the sixth.
With Collins on second base, Myah Moy, who had the first hit of the game earlier, made contact once again to tie up the score. This time her ground ball was mishandled and traveled into the outfield, allowing Collins to hustle home. The game would head to extra innings.
Senior pitcher Whitney Jones had come on in relief and shut down Maryland from the fifth inning on, retiring nine batters in a row for a stretch. That set up freshman backstop Katie Wingert, who won the game with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was the 15th longball of the season for Wingert and delivered the program’s first walk-off homer since Rebecca Hall delivered one to beat Wisconsin in 2015. The Scarlet Knights are 3-0 this season in extra inning games.
Rutgers improved to 24-20 overall and 8-9 in Big Ten play. They’ve won seven of their last eight games in conference action and currently sit in sixth place in the standings. Head coach Kristen Butler is now the winningest first year head coach in program history and clearly has Rutgers on the rise. They’ll have an opportunity to finish the season on a high note, as they face two teams behind them in the Big Ten standings. If they can go 4-2 over the final six games, they’ll clinch the program’s first winning record in conference play since joining the Big Ten five seasons ago.
The Scarlet Knights visit Indiana (31-18; 6-11) this coming weekend for a three-game series with Friday’s game airing live on BTN at 6 p.m. ET. The following weekend, Rutgers wraps up the regular season with a three-game series against Michigan State (15-29; 3-13).