2019 Big Ten Softball Tournament
No. 6 seed Rutgers (28-23; 11-12) vs. No. 11 seed Purdue (30-26; 6-17)
When: Thursday May 9th through Saturday, May 11th
Where: Bloomington, Indiana (IU host)
How To Watch: Big Ten Network at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET
The Boilermakers have a winning record but have lost nine games in a row and and it’s last eleven straight conference games. Rutgers and Purdue haven’t played each other since 2015, with the Scarlet Knights having won the only series they’ve played as Big Ten opponents 2-1.
The Boilermakers are led by Jenny Behan, who is hitting .362 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI’s, as well as Rachel Becker (.333 BA, 40 runs) and Kasey Wilhoit (.323 BA, 33 RBI). On the mound, they feature Sydney Bates (11-8; 3.58 ERA, 111 K, 68 BB) and Kaitlynn Moody (11-10, 3.60 ERA, 70 K, 69 BB).
The Scarlet Knights have won four of its last five Big Ten series and completed its best finish in conference play since joining the league in 2015. After a three year absence, RU enters the Big Ten Tournament 0-2 all-time, having lost as a no. 7 seed in 2015 and an no. 11 seed in 2016.
Rutgers is led by freshman Katie Wingert, who was named a Second Team All-Big Ten selection on Wednesday, in addition to making the All-Freshman Team. She is batting .317 with 17 homers and 44 RBI’s. Wingert hit extra inning walk-off home runs in three consecutive games with the third coming last weekend in the series opening victory over Michigan State. Rutgers is 12-3 this season when Wingert hits a home run.
Anyssa Iliopoulos, who is the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, is hitting .331 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI’s. Jess Hughes produced a .360 batting average, hit 10 home runs, knocked in 39 RBI’s and scored 46 runs.
Joining Wingert on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team is pitcher Corah Price, who went 16-9 with a 2.87 ERA, throwing 111 strikeouts and walking just 41 batters. She also made 2 saves this season. The other primary starter is Whitney Jones, who went 11-13 with a 4.36 ERA.
Rutgers has hit a program best 53 home runs this season.
Head coach Kristen Butler is the winningest first year head coach in program history. It’s also the first winning season for Rutgers since 2015.
Rutgers is 5-1 in extra inning games. They also won three games this season when trailing entering the 7th inning.
The Scarlet Knights are 6-7 in one run contests. They are 20-2 when scoring 5 or more runs and 19-8 when scoring first. RU is 17-2 when leading after five innings.
To listen to coach Butler’s Big Ten Tournament conference call, click here.
The winner of Thursday night’s contest will face third seeded Minnesota (39-11; 20-2) at approximately 7 p.m. ET on Friday.