After a regular season in which Rutgers completed its best finish in conference play since joining the league 5 years ago, they were unable to breakthrough with the program’s first win in the Big Ten Tournament. As the sixth seed, the Scarlet Knights fell to eleventh seeded Purdue late Thursday night 4-3.
There were lengthy weather delays throughout the day and the game, originally scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. ET start, didn’t begin until 11:00 p.m. and ended early Friday morning. The host site for the Big Ten Tournament is home of the Hoosiers in Bloomington, Indiana.
Purdue scored two first inning runs to take and early lead. There was some controversy as a Boilermakers runner appeared to miss first base on the way to a leadoff double. Rutgers appealed to the bag but did not get the call reversal. The runner scored after a single on the next at-bat. The Scarlet Knights got out of the inning behind a diving catch by third baseman Myah Moy and a double play from left fielder Adriana Burcar, who threw out a runner to Moy at third.
Rutgers settled down and took the lead behind a three run third inning. RU loaded the bases with one out and got RBI’s from Nicole Bowman on a fielders choice, as well as singles from Penelope Russ and Aleah Marra.
Starting pitcher Corah Price, who was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team this week, settled into a stretch of retiring nine Purdue batters in a row between the second and fourth innings. However, the Boilermakers regained the lead in the fifth behind a two out, two run double, as Rutgers trailed 4-3.
Second Team All-Big Ten selection Katie Wingert drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh inning, but she was stranded at second base as Rutgers was unable to tie the game in the final frame, falling to Purdue in the opening round.
Price went 6 2⁄3 innings, giving up 8 hits and 4 earned runs. She dropped to 16-10 in what has been a strong rookie season for the hurler.
The Scarlet Knights are 0-3 in the Big Ten Tournament since joining the league.
Rutgers (28-24) now awaits word on whether they’ll be selected for National Invitational Softball Championship, which will be determined on Sunday, May 12th once the NCAA Tournament field is announced.