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Rutgers softball wins 3 of 5 games in Mardi Gras Classic

Two early wins in the Mardi Gras Classic tournament resulted in the Rutgers softball team having its best start to the season since 1980. – Photo by Ben Solomon /

The Rutgers softball team came out 3-2 in the Mardi Gras Classic in Mobile, Alabama. Although the Scarlet Knights (8-2, 0-0) broke their winning streak this weekend, the team still continued to make history with their winning record.

Rutgers started the Classic off strong on Friday afternoon, defeating Missouri State 8-1. The Knights’ pitching staff only allowed the Bears (3-6,0-0) to have four hits.

Sophomore pitcher Georgia Ingle served as the pitcher for three innings against Missouri State and successfully denied any hits from the Bears with three strikeouts.

Junior shortstop Kyleigh Sand and junior pitcher/outfielder Morgan Smith each crossed the plate two times. Sand added multiple stolen bases to her total, climbing into the top 10 list for Rutgers.

Senior outfielder Taylor Fawcett got one run batted in (RBI) for the Knights off a sacrifice fly. Freshman utility and infielder Calista Collins and senior infielder Payton Lincavage both drove in a pair of runs against Missouri State.

Rutgers then grabbed two wins against Mississippi State Valley on Friday and Saturday. The Devils (0-7, 0-0) were unable to keep up with the Knights during the matchups. In its first game, Rutgers dominated Mississippi State Valley in a blowout 16-1 victory.

Courtesy of runs scored by Smith, Lincavage and freshman pitcher Ryann Orange, the Knights started the first inning with a 3-0 lead and worked their way up from there.

With many field errors from the Devils, Rutgers had the advantage of scoring on several different occasions. By the time the second inning was over, the Knights were already up by 9 points.

Mississippi State Valley brought in its only run in the fourth inning. Ending the game on a strong note, Rutgers brought multiple players home during the last innings of the game.

The Knights met up again with the Devils on Saturday afternoon for a rematch. Although Rutgers wasn’t able to bring in as many runs as its previous game against Mississippi State Valley, the team still dominated their opponent with a 7-1 final score.

Senior pitcher Ashley Hitchcock served on the circle for 4 innings, allowing no hits and punching out six Devils on the way to her third win of the season. The Knights brought home four runs in the fourth inning off of RBI doubles from Smith and fifth-year senior catcher Katie Wingert, which gave them an advantage as Mississippi State Valley had no runs on the board yet.

With Rutgers victories against the Bears and the Devils, the Knights had their best season start since 1980 with a 7-0 record. In its last two games though, Rutgers fell to the tournament's host, South Alabama. 

Although the Knights were able to bring in hits against the Jaguars (5-4, 0-0), Rutgers struggled to bring in runs during both games. It lost in the first game by a score of 4-1.

During the first game against South Alabama on Saturday, junior utility Kobie Hura scored a run off of a Wingert single to give the Knights the lead. The Jaguars were able to respond with four unanswered runs as Rutgers struggled offensively.

After having another chance against the team on Sunday afternoon, the Knights were unable to gain a win and were shutout 4-0.

Graduate student pitcher Jaden Vickers served as the starting pitcher for 1.2 innings, while freshman pitcher Raimy Gamsby made an appearance on the pitcher’s circle for the remaining 4.1 innings. Both pitchers allowed two earned runs. In total, South Alabama was able to gain eight hits over Rutgers.

Although the Jaguars swept the Knights, Rutgers still put on a great show this weekend winning 3 out of 5 games.

The Knights will prepare to attend the College of Charleston Tournament in South Carolina this upcoming weekend. Rutgers will face off against Robert Morris University, College of Charleston and Syracuse throughout the weekend.

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

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