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Rutgers softball looks to break losing streak in weekend series against Illinois

Sophomore shortstop Kyleigh Sand and the Rutgers softball team will look to end their seven-game losing streak against Illinois. – Photo by Mike Carlson / Scarletknights

The Rutgers softball team will host Illinois at home this weekend. The Scarlet Knights (23-19, 1-8) are finally back on their home field for another Big Ten series against the Fighting Illini (23-13, 6-2).

Rutgers is coming off of a loss against Seton Hall on Tuesday. The Pirates (16-16, 4-8) scored early, only allowing the Knights to lead for a short period in the fourth. A two-runs batted in (RBI) single from Jenna Blevins got Seton Hall back on top.

The program's offense stayed consistent through the inning, adding on two more runs to widen its lead to 5-2 over Rutgers.

Graduate student utility Gabrielle Callaway scored in the sixth, but the Knights could not generate enough offense to catch up to the Pirates.

The final score after seven was 5-3 with another loss credited to junior pitcher Ashley Hitchcock to add to the seven-game losing streak for Rutgers.

The Knights will try to get out of their funk when they host Illinois this weekend. The Big Ten series will begin today in Piscataway. The Fighting Illini is coming into the weekend fresh off of a series sweep and are on a win streak of seven games. 

Avrey Steiner is among the players leading the team so far this season. Steiner holds the best average on the team, batting .416 with a .927 OPS and 14 RBIs.

Delaney Rummell also lights up the score sheet. Rummell has a .533 slugging percentage with 22 RBIs and leads the team with eight home runs.

Tori McQueen and Sydney Sickels have each been great for Illinois in the pitching circle this season with each earning an ERA below 3.00. McQueen holds a 2.32 ERA with more than 81 innings pitched, 10 wins and only four losses. Sickels leads the team with 121 strikeouts.

The Fighting Illini pitching staff will have quite the matchup with the Rutgers offense. Sophomore shortstop Kyleigh Sand and Callaway are the Knights’ regular offensive producers and are bound to give Illinois a run for its money. 

Sand and Callaway have been leading the offense for Rutgers all season and are currently the top two hitters in terms of batting average. 

All three games will be played at the Softball Complex on Livingston campus. The games will be available for broadcast on Big Ten Network+. Today's and tomorrow's games will have a 3 p.m. start while the final game on Sunday will start at 1 p.m.


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


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