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Rutgers Softball opens B1G play with sweep of Illinois



Katie Wingert moved into fourth place in program history this past weekend with 28 career home runs. Photo credit Rutgers Athletics/Ben Solomon

Rutgers softball opened Big Ten play with a three game series sweep of Illinois on the road. It was the program’s first sweep of a league foe since 2019. The Scarlet Knights have won nine straight games and are 26-10 overall this season.

Friday’s series opener was cut short after four innings due to inclement weather. The game resumed on Saturday afternoon. Trailing 3-2 in the top of the sixth inning, RU exploded for five runs. The Scarlet Knights hit three home runs during the rally by Calista Collins, Morgan Smith and Katie Wingert. Earlier in the game Kobie Hura hit a homer and the team’s four dingers overall was the most since 2019. The win was the 200th of head coach Kristen Butler’s career. She has won 97 at Rutgers and is currently in her fifth season.

In the second game of the series on Saturday, Rutgers won 8-0 behind Raimy Gambsy’s second complete game shutout of the season. She tied her season high with seven strikeouts and improved to 8-3 on the season. It was the program’s first shutout in Big Ten play since 2019. Katie Wingert hit her 12th home run of the season in the victory. She now has 28 in her career needs two more to tie Rebecca Hall for third most in program history.

On Sunday, Illinois led 7-6 until the top of the fifth inning. Rutgers took the lead for good as Georgia Ingle delivered a pinch hit three run homer. Jaden Vickers improved to 6-4 on the season working out of the bullpen. It was Ingle who earned the save, her second of the season, with a scoreless seventh inning.

Sunday’s victory topped last season’s win total and is the most since 2019 when RU finished 29-26. The Scarlet Knights are looking to produce its first winning campaign in four years as well.

Rutgers returns home to host Purdue this weekend for a three game series from March 31 through April 2nd. Maryland will then visit for a doubleheader on April 5 before RU travels to Ohio State. The Scarlet Knights will look to keep their hot streak going as conference play ramps up.

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