The Rowan University softball team picked up a pair of wins over Rutgers-Newark on Saturday, April 9. In their 2-0 victory in the first game, Emily August was near perfection in the circle. And in the second game, the Profs’ offensive overpowered the Scarlet Raiders 10-5.
During game one of the doubleheader, August, the ace in the Profs’ rotation, got the start. The pitching matchup did not disappoint between the Scarlet Raiders and the Profs, as August and Rutgers-Newark’s Jackie Lara battled until the final out.
Lara surrendered four hits, two runs, one of which was earned, and struck out two, while earning her fourth loss of the season (4-4).
Profs leadoff hitter, freshman center fielder McKenzie Melvin, recorded two of those four hits, while senior Korie Hague and fellow freshman Liz McCaffery each added a hit.
After an error in the third inning, sophomore right fielder Grace Shukaitis reached safely at first. After a bunt hit from Melvin and advancement from the runners, senior left fielder Morgan Zane stepped up to the plate and delivered for the Profs. Her sacrifice fly to left field allowed for Shukaitis to score and make the game 1-0.
In the fifth, Melvin tripled on a gapper in between right and left field. She eventually came around to score off of a ground out from sophomore shortstop Payton MacNair.
Although Lara was able to limit the Profs to two runs, August shined on the mound.
The senior was perfect in the circle until the top of the seventh with two outs and two strikes when Lara broke up her perfect game with a ground ball up the middle. Although her perfect game ended early, August is just trying to enjoy her senior year, knowing her teammates are behind her.
“I was just thinking about having a good time honestly,” August said. “I’ve been trying to soak up my senior year and just going out there to play and have fun. I know my teammates will always have my back.”
August finished the game with nine strikeouts while earning her tenth victory of the year (10-3) as the Profs won 2-0. She describes what pitches were key to her success on the mound.
“My curve today was on and my rise [riseball] they were swinging at,” August said. “They were chasing that a lot too.”
Head Coach Kim Wilson was proud with how her ace was able to perform on Saturday.
“I thought she did a great job,” Coach Wilson said. “She’s just been a dynamic pitcher out there, moving the ball and keeping people off balance, I’m real happy with where she is right now.”
The second game was a change of pace for both squads, as the scoring started early and was consistent throughout the entirety of the game.
After Rutgers-Newark was able to get on the board during the first inning, the Profs answered back with three in the bottom of the inning to give them the 3-1 advantage. Zane doubled to drive in MacNair, while sophomore Cat Thomas drove in Zane with a hit of her own. The Profs would tack on one more run when sophomore third baseman Breanna Bryant delivered with a sacrifice fly.
The Scarlet-Raiders countered to tie the game 3-3 off of a double which drove in two runs. After an unusually shaky start from Rowan’s freshman pitcher Rylee Lutz, Thomas came in on relief.
The Profs added run support for their pitchers, as Zane and Thomas came up clutch once again, each grabbing hits and RBIs in the second inning to give Rowan the 5-3 edge.
Rowan was able to extend their lead by adding four more runs in the third inning making it a 9-3 game.
Coach Wilson was impressed with the contribution of a multitude of players.
“I think we’re getting hits from a lot of different people and that’s what we want to do,” Coach Wilson said. “We wanna spread them [hits] around, we don’t want just one person doing it.”
In the fourth inning, August came in on relief for Thomas to shut down the comeback attempt from the Scarlet Raiders after they pulled within five.
Coach Wilson describes the decision to take Thomas out and send August in to close the game.
“I thought Cat did a good job. She hasn’t thrown a whole lot so I didn’t want to let her go too deep,” Coach Wilson said. “They had scored a couple runs and I thought it was time to put the nail in it.”
Each team was able to add another run, as Rutgers-Newark hit a homerun and MacNair delivered on an RBI single to make the game 10-5.
In the 10-5 coup, Thomas got the win on the mound (2-1) pitching two and one-thirds innings, while striking out two and giving up an earned run. In relief, August delivered once again for the Profs by only surrendering one hit and striking out four in her three and one-thirds appearance.
August describes her thoughts as she came in to hold it down for the Profs.
“I just knew I had to do my job and that was that.”
In the 2-0 and 10-5 victories the Profs totaled 19 hits, while strong pitching performances propelled them to success.
August describes the power of the Profs’ lineup that came through in game two.
“Our hitting is definitely contagious,” August said. “We have such a stacked lineup.”
Rowan moves to 21-5 on the season and is riding an 11-game winning streak. They will face The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) on Tuesday, April 12, in Ewing, New Jersey, as they continue conference play.
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