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Rutgers softball wins opener, drops next 2 in series against Nebraska

Senior pitcher and outfielder Morgan Smith has homered a Big Ten-leading 19 times on the season for the Rutgers softball team. – Photo by Christian Sanchez

The Rutgers softball team took a series loss this weekend against Nebraska. The Scarlet Knights (26-18, 8-6) hosted the conference series at the Rutgers Softball Complex on Livingston campus and dropped the second and third games.

Game one: Rutgers wins 9-3

Rutgers got the weekend started with a big win over the Cornhuskers (25-16, 8-3).

The game was back and forth for the first two innings. Nebraska took the early lead when its first batter, Billie Andrews, hit a solo home run off fifth-year pitcher Mattie Boyd.

The Knights responded in the bottom of the inning as senior outfielder and pitcher Morgan Smith hit a homer of her own to make it a 2-1 lead.

The Cornhuskers regained the lead in the next inning with a two-run homer from Katelyn Caneda, but that was the last breath of life they would have for the rest of the day.

Rutgers snagged back the lead in the third with Smith stealing home for the go-ahead run. Two innings later, graduate student utility player LA Matthews hit her first career long ball, extending the lead to 5-3.

Graduate student catcher Katie Wingert followed Matthews with a homer of her own, officially taking the title as the Knights' all-time home runs leader with 41 career homers.

Rutgers held on to its lead as Boyd kept Nebraska scoreless for the rest of the game.

The Knights added on a few more runs for security, ending the game with a 9-3 victory.

Game two: Rutgers loses 13-5

The Cornhuskers' bats were hot out of the gate in Saturday's game, scoring three runs in the opening frame.

Rutgers responded thanks to a run-scoring single from senior outfielder Kayla Bock.

Nebraska answered by scoring eight straight, taking a huge 11-1 lead.

The Knights finally showed some signs of life in the fifth with a one-run single from Matthews and a three-run blast from Smith, making it 11-5 and cutting the deficit to six runs. With her home run, Smith snagged her 18th of the year and marked her sixth straight game hitting a ball over the fence.

The Cornhuskers ended things with a two-run triple, snapping Rutgers' five-game win streak and taking the game 13-5 in six innings.

Game three: Rutgers loses 7-6

The Knights lost in extra innings on Sunday in the series finale against Nebraska.

Rutgers took the early lead in the afternoon matchup, scoring two in the first frame. The Knights widened their lead to 4-0 in the third, scoring on a fielder's choice and a fielding error from the Cornhuskers.

Nebraska got on the board in the fourth off of a homer from Caitlynn Neal.

Senior shortstop Kyleigh Sand brought in a run in the fourth, extending Rutgers' lead to 5-1.

The Knights scored their final run with a solo shot from graduate student infielder Payton Lincavage.

The Cornhuskers battled back in the sixth with an impressive rally, tying the game at 6-6 and ultimately forcing extra innings.

Peyton Cody was the hero for Nebraska, knocking in the final runner to give her team the 7-6 come-from-behind win.

Rutgers will be back in action on Tuesday. The Knights will travel to Brooklyn, New York, to take on LIU for a 3 p.m. matchup.

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

To view more of Allison Girardi's work, follow @allisongirardii on X.

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