Early controversial call leads to Rutgers Softball dropping Big Ten Tournament Opener
After a lengthy weather delay, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights finally began 2019 Big Ten Softball Tournament play later Thursday night against the Purdue Boilermakers. Rutgers was one of the conferences hottest teams entering the tournament and felt they could make a run. The Scarlet Knights, entering as the No. 6 seed with the Boilermakers at No. 11.
Purdue jumped on Rutgers and ace pitcher, freshman Corah Price early, but not without controversy. Purdue shortstop, Rachel Becker, led off the game with a double. However, Becker appeared to miss first base. Rutgers appealed the play but their attempt went up granted. Becker would score one batter later on an RBI single by Mallory Baker.
The Boilermakers added another run in the first inning on a wild pitch from Price to take an early 2-0 lead. Luckily for Rutgers, a nice diving play by third baseman Myah Moy and a double-play fly ball ended any further threat.
Rutgers grabbed the lead behind a three-run third inning. After loading the bases with one out, the Scarlet Knights received an RBI from Nicole Bowman on a fielders choice, as well as run-scoring singles from Penelope Russ and Aleah Marra. The outburst knocked Purdue starter Sydney Bates from the game. She was replaced by Kaitlynn Moody.
Price settled in in the circle and retired nine straight Boilermakers between the second and fourth innings. However, in the fifth, Purdue took the go-ahead and game-winning lead on a two-out, two-run double by Baker.
Rutgers was unable to get things going offensively against Moody, recording just one hit and two walks once she entered the game for Purdue.
Freshman catcher, Katie Wingert, drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh inning, but was unable to advance farther than second base and Rutgers was once again one and done in the Big Ten Tournament. The Scarlet Knights are 0-3 in the conference tournament since joining the Big Ten.
Price went 6 2/3 innings, giving up 8 hits and 4 earned runs and dropping her season record to 16-10.
Russ and Marra each had two hits for the Scarlet Knights while Bowman, Wingert, and Jess Hughes had a hit apiece.
Rutgers now awaits Sunday’s announcement of the field that will participate in the National Invitational Softball Championship to find our if their season will continue.
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