May 4, 2013
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The University of Pittsburgh softball team (18-29, 7-14) split a pair of games with Rutgers (30-25, 8-13) on Saturday afternoon by winning the first game 2-1 and losing the second game 4-3 in nine innings at the RU Softball Complex.
The Panthers received two quality starts from their pitchers Savannah King and Alexa Larkin. King threw a complete game three-hitter in game one, while Larkin went 7.2 innings in game two, allowing just four hits and struck out 11 batters. King was also 3-for-7 at the plate with and RBI and three runs scored.
Game One: Pitt 2, Rutgers 1
Besides the second inning, King did not allow a hit for the entire game. She was also 1-for-2 at the plate with a walk and a run scored. Ashlee Sills was 3-for-3 and tallied the other run.
Rutgers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single by shortstop Melanie Slowinski, but the Panthers responded with two runs on four hits in the top of the third inning.
Savannah King and Ashlee Sills led off the inning with consecutive hits, and two batters later, Jordan Fannin's single loaded the bases with one out for Holly Stevens. Pitt's all-time leader in runs batted in came through with clutch single up the middle which scored King and Sills and gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
Pitt would once again load the bases in the fourth inning with a single from Kaila Balatgek, a walk by King and a bunt single by Sills, but RU pitcher Alyssa Landrith recorded back-to-back strikeouts which ended the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Rutgers' first batter, Jennifer Harabedian, had what looked to be a double, but Carly Thea made a phenomenal diving catch ranging to her left for the first out of the inning. King would then get a strikeout and a groundout to end the game.
Game Two: Rutgers 4, Pitt 3 (Nine Innings)
Jackie Bates of Rutgers tied the game with a double in the eighth inning and won the game with a bases loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Scarlet Knights topped the Panthers 4-3 in extra innings.
Like game one, Rutgers scored first on an RBI single, this time by Jennifer Harabedian who drove home leadoff batter Loren Williams. Williams opened the inning with a walk.
After leaving the bases loaded in both the first and the second innings, the Panthers broke through with a Savannah King RBI single in the top of the third. Carissa Throckmorton led off the inning with a single up the middle, and was the sacrificed over by Carly Thea. Two batters later, King looped the ball to shallow center field to score Throckmorton and tie the game at 1-1.
Rutgers regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Chandler Howard drove home Ashley Alden who led off the inning with a walk. But once again the Panthers responded and tied the game in the top of the sixth.
King led off the inning by striking out, but reached first base on a wild pitch. She would then be sacrificed to second, and Ashlee Sills' bunt single put her on third. Two batters later, Jordan Fannin hit a hard grounder to second base which Harabedian could not handle, allowing King to score.
The game would eventually go to extras, and Pitt gained a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth inning when Fannin once again brought home King. This time it was a clear hit to center field with the bases loaded for Fannin's third hit of the day.
Rutgers refused to quit and tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with an RBI double by Bates which scored Williams from second base. Williams led off the inning with a bunt single and then stole second. Rutgers threatened to win the game in that inning as Ashley Alden absolutely crushed the ball with the bases loaded, but Holly Stevens made a leaping catch at second base to end the inning.
Rutgers would once again load the bases in the ninth with two singles, sandwiched in between a walk, and then Bates' single up the middle ended the game.
Pitt and Rutgers conclude their series tomorrow at 12 p.m. in a must win for both teams. Live stats are available here, and fans can receive in-game Twitter updates by following @PittSoftball.