April 3, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - In a pitcher's duel that consisted of 10 scoreless innings between Villanova's Kaity Sitzman and Rutgers' Shayla Sweeney, the Wildcats offense was unable to get going as the Scarlet Knights took game one of Thursday's doubleheader, 1-0, in 11 innings at the Villanova Softball Complex.
In the top of the 11th, Chandler Howard took a 1-1 fastball over the left center field fence off Villanova's Kate Poppe to break up the scoreless tie and propel Rutgers to its 15th win of the season. In their final at-bats, Alyssa Landrith came in to spell Sweeney and earne the save after closing the door in her one inning of work.
Villanova was riding a two game winning streak but falls to 10-18 overall, while the Scarlet Knights move to 15-10 on the year.
Despite a superb pitching effort by Sitzman, Villanova's offense struggled as they only notched six hits against Sweeney. Sitzman didn't get the decision, allowing no runs on nine hits in nine innings on the bump. The senior struck out six and only walked one of the 34 batters she faced.
Sweeney struck out two and allowed no runs and six hits in 10 innings on the mound, which earned the freshman her fifth win of the season. Poppe falls to 6-13 after allowing one run on two hits in two innings of relief ball.
The Wildcats got the bats going in the fifth when Sierra McConnell and Natalia Segovia notched back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second with one out. However, Sweeney would halt the threat, getting pinch hitter Ali Angelbello to line into a 4-3 double play at second base.
After a nice catch by Chase Snell at second for the first out, Jackie Bates notched a single to right field. The next batter placed a sacrifice bunt to move the runner into scoring position with two outs. Butler made a nice catch along the first base fence to retire the side.
McConnell led the eighth off with a single up the middle and advanced following a perfect placed sac bunt by Segovia. With two outs, Aleshia Ayers lined a shot to left, which was caught for the third out of the inning.
Rutgers posed a threat in the ninth with two outs. Chandler Howard launched a double to right field before Sitzman intentionally walked Jackie Bates. The Wildcats got out of the inning scoreless when Lowe fielded a grounder and tagged Howard out.
The Scarlet Knights posed a threat in the 10th inning. Following a leadoff single by Melanie Slowinski, Stephanie Huang beat out a bunt to put the first two runners on. The next batter launched a single to left field to load the bases, forcing coach Maria DiBernardi to go to the bullpen. With no outs, Poppe entered the game and forced a pair of pop outs and a strikeout to leaving three runners stranded and keep it scoreless.
McConnell tuned in a three hit performance as Lauren Hershberg, Butler and Segovia each added a hit for the Wildcats.
The two squads will return to action to conclude today's doubleheader.