On Sunday night, the Rutgers softball team completed its sweep of Purdue after its losses to Northwestern and Illinois to finish 2-4 overall in its 1st of 2 series in Leesburg, Florida.
The Scarlet Knights (2-4, 2-4) started their weekend with a Friday doubleheader against Illinois. In the first game, Rutgers lost 6-1. Sophomore pitcher Jaden Vickers got the start and pitched three innings, getting four strikeouts and allowing 4 runs.
Freshman infielder Kayla Bock, freshman outfielder Leilani Chavez and freshman infielder Megan Herka all made their debut for the Knights. The Fighting Illini (5-1, 5-1) managed to tack on 6 runs in 6 innings before Chavez, in her debut, drove in graduate infielder Kiana Workman with a single to right at the top of the seventh inning.
In the second game, Illinois jumped to a quick 4-0 lead in the first and never looked back, shutting out Rutgers and winning the game 8-0. Freshman utility Kobie Hura made her debut in right field, and graduate student pitcher Izzy Berouty threw for five innings.
On day two at the Sleepy Hollow Sports Complex, the Knights faced off against Northwestern in a double-header. Sophomore pitcher Ashley Hitchcock started the first game pitching 4.1 innings with two strikeouts. But, behind a 4-run second inning and 3-run fifth inning, the Wildcats (6-0, 6-0) won 8-0.
Northwestern struck quickly in the second game putting up 5 runs in the first. The Wildcats led 10-0 in the fifth when graduate student utility Gabrielle Callaway was able to notch a run batted in (RBI) for Rutgers' only run of the game. The game ended in favor of Northwestern 10-1.
On Sunday, the Knights faced off against the Boilermakers (2-4, 2-4) in a doubleheader to conclude their first trip to Leesburg, Florida. Purdue jumped to a 4-1 lead in the first inning of the first game. Due to a 7-run second inning, Rutgers soared back and won the game 12-9. Berouty notched her first victory, tossing five innings, and Vickers got the save with two scoreless innings in relief.
Sophomore infielder Payton Lincavage and Callaway shined for the Knights going 3-for-5 with 2 runs and an RBI and 2-for-5 with a run and two RBIs, respectively.
In the second game, Rutgers continued its success with a tight 6-5 win. Down 5-3 in the seventh inning, the Knights were able to load the bases before picking up two outs. Down to their final out, Hura walked in a run, sophomore outfielder Aleeah Randazzo singled in a run and sophomore catcher Kiersten Withstandley got hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run.
Workman, who scored the game-winning run, went 3-for-4 with 2 runs and an RBI and Lincavage went 2-for-4 with a run. Berouty got her second win of the season, pitching the final three innings. The come-from-behind win concluded the weekend and sealed the sweep against the Boilermakers.
The Knights head back to Leesburg, Florida, on March 11 to face off against Minnesota and Indiana in two three-game series.
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