On Sunday afternoon, the Rutgers softball team completed its weekend series against Michigan State, taking 1 of 4 games. The Scarlet Knights (3-13, 3-13) started their series in East Lansing last Friday afternoon with a 3-2 win over the Spartans (6-10, 6-10).
The win was fueled by a three-run first inning in which sophomore infielder/catcher Kiersten Withstandley drove in two runs with a triple and then was driven in by a double from graduate student utility Anyssa Iliopoulos.
From there, Rutgers never looked back as sophomore pitcher Ashley Hitchcock tossed her second complete game of the season, letting up two runs on five hits and striking out five.
On Saturday, the Knights and Michigan State participated in a doubleheader. The Spartans took the first game 4-3 and followed that up with a 10-3 win.
The first game of the doubleheader started well for Rutgers as sophomore infielder Payton Lincavage hit a home run in the first at-bat of the game. The Knights were able to tack on two more runs in the fifth with an RBI double from graduate student utility Gabrielle Callaway and an RBI single from Withstandley.
Michigan State battled back in the bottom of the fifth inning with a bases-loaded two-RBI singles and a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth. Kendall Kates hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh to give the Spartans the win. Graduate student pitcher Izzy Berouty got the start in the loss pitching 4.2 innings with two strikeouts. Hitchcock pitched 1.1 innings in relief with a pair of strikeouts as well.
The second game of the doubleheader was close until the bottom of the fifth. Rutgers scored three runs in the top of the fifth, in part due to a two-RBI single from graduate student infielder Kiana Workman to make the game 3-2. In the bottom of the fifth, Michigan State scored six runs on six hits to make the game 8-3. The Spartans added on two more runs in the next inning to put the game out of reach.
The Knights scored no more runs from there as the game ended 10-3. Sophomore pitcher Jaden Vickers got the start pitching 2.2 innings and Berouty got the loss, pitching 2.2 innings as well. Despite the loss, Iliopoulos went for 3-for-4 with a run scored.
On Sunday, Rutgers played its final game of the series. Michigan State started the scoring with a solo home run at its second at-bat of the game. The Knights were able to get one back in the top of the fourth with a wild pitch.
The Spartans struck back, scoring one run in the fourth and two runs in the fifth to win the game 4-1 and take the series three games to one. Callaway shined in the loss, going 2-3 with a run scored. Hitchcock pitched another complete game letting up four earned runs and earning five strikeouts.
Rutgers looks to rebound in its first home series against Nebraska beginning Friday.
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