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Rutgers softball drops 1st Big Ten series to Minnesota

Sophomore utility Kobie Hura starred with two home runs over the weekend, but the Rutgers softball team dropped 2 of its 3 games against Minnesota.  – Photo by Mike Carlson /

The Rutgers softball team fell short this weekend against Minnesota in its first series on the Big Ten calendar. The Scarlet Knights (22-12, 1-2) won one and lost two games in front of a home crowd at the Rutgers Softball Complex on Livingston campus.

In the program's first meeting against the Golden Gophers (15-12-1, 2-1) on Friday, Rutgers was victorious, stretching its win streak to five games in the 9-2 final. 

Minnesota opened up the scoring in the top of the second on a double from Sydney Strelow that brought in two runs for the Gophers. The Knights were quick to tie the game in the bottom of the inning after a series of walks.

By the end of the second inning, Rutgers held a 4-2 lead. This was thanks to a base hit from junior catcher Katie Wingert, which scored two runs. 

The Knights widened their lead again in the third before a grand slam from graduate student utility Gabrielle Callaway in the same inning sealed the deal. 

Rutgers’ win streak was snapped in its Saturday meeting with Minnesota. The Knights were the first to get runs on the board off a Callaway double in the first. 

The Gophers would open up the game in the ensuing innings. Lauren Espalin homered in the second and hit a grand slam in the third while Chloe Evans hit a solo homer in the third to help make the score 11-1 before Rutgers went to bat in the bottom of the third. 

While Minnesota’s lead widened, the Knights kept fighting. The program managed to score an additional six runs, with two home runs total from sophomore utility Kobie Hura and junior outfielder Taylor Fawcett.

Despite its efforts, Rutgers could not close the gap, leaving the afternoon with an 11-7 defeat. 

The Gophers took the series’ rubber match yesterday when they defeated the Knights 10-3. Junior pitchers Ashley Hitchcock and Jaden Vickers each threw two innings for Rutgers and each gave up five runs. 

The Knights had a less eventful day at the plate compared to the last two games, only scoring three runs. One run was scored on a home run from Hura. 

The additional home run yesterday wrapped up an impressive weekend from Hura. The Chino, California, native now has a .217 batting average and 10 hits in 46 at-bats this season.

Rutgers will look to start another win streak tomorrow when they face Monmouth at home. The program will follow with a trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take on Nebraska for its second conference series.

The game against the Hawks (4-21, 0-0) will begin at 3 p.m. and will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network+.

For more updates on the Rutgers softball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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