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Rutgers softball suffers close series loss to Ohio State

Senior infielder Payton Lincavage of the Rutgers softball team hit 4 home runs in the series against Ohio State, where the team went 1-2 in the three-game slate. – Photo by Tom Gilbert /

The Rutgers softball team lost a close series to Ohio State on the road over the weekend. The Scarlet Knights (30-14, 7-4) won 1 out of 3 games against the Buckeyes (23-13, 4-5).

Rutgers started off the series with a come-from-behind 6-5 win on Friday evening.

Ohio State's bats started the game hot, as the team scored 1 run in the first inning and 4 runs in the second inning to take an early 5-0 lead.

In the top of the third inning, the Knights responded by scoring 2 runs on one hit, two walks and two batters being hit by pitches. Junior shortstop Kyleigh Sand and senior infielder Payton Lincavage were the batters who crossed home plate in the inning.

Thanks to a 3-run home run from Lincavage, Rutgers would tie the game at 5-5 in the following inning.

With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Lincavage hit a solo home run down the left-field line to give the Knights a 6-5 lead. Rutgers was able to pitch two scoreless innings to preserve the one-run lead and get the victory.

Lincavage had a strong day at the plate, going 2 for 3 with 2 home runs, four runs batted in (RBI) and 3 runs scored.

Freshman pitcher Raimy Gamsby started the game inside the circle for the Knights but struggled, allowing 5 earned runs in 1.1 innings pitched. Freshman pitcher Ryann Orange and graduate student pitcher Jaden Vickers relieved Gamsby, and both pitchers did not allow the Buckeyes to score any runs.

Friday’s win gave Rutgers its first 30-win season since 2013 and head coach Kristen Butler’s first 30-win season with the Knights.

Rutgers fell to Ohio State by a score of 3-2 in Saturday’s game.

Once again, the Buckeyes struck first, bringing home one run in the bottom of the first inning. The Knights took their first lead in the top of the third inning when Lincavage hit a 2-run home run to left field. This was Lincavage’s third home run of the series.

Ohio State tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth inning and retook its lead in the sixth thanks to a solo home run from Jaycee Ruberti.

The Buckeyes held Rutgers scoreless in the seventh inning to get the win and even up the series.

Junior pitcher Morgan Smith pitched for 5 innings allowing four hits and 2 runs (1 earned). Senior pitcher Ashley Hitchcock was charged with the loss after pitching for 1 inning and allowing 1 earned run.

The Knights and Ohio State played another tight game in the series finale earlier today. In the series finale, Rutgers lost by a score of 4-3 in extra innings.

Lincavage continued to have a hot bat in the series, as she opened up the scoring for the Knights with a 2-run home run over the left field wall in the top of the third inning. 

Just an inning later, one batter was hit by a pitch, and then the Buckeyes got two hits to tie the score at 2-2. Ohio State scored again in the sixth inning to take a 3-2 lead. Down to its final out, Rutgers drew two straight walks and then capitalized on a Buckeye error to tie the score at 3-3. The game would go into extra innings.

Both teams failed to score in the eighth inning, but in the ninth inning, Ohio State brought home a run to walk the game off.

Lincavage ended the series with four home runs in just three games.

The Knights' pitching was also a highlight as taking away the first two innings in Friday’s game, Rutgers only let up seven runs.

The Knights' road trip continues this weekend when they travel to University Park, Pennsylvania, for a three-game series against Penn State.

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

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