CAMDEN, N.J. (March 27, 2013) – Senior centerfielder Jackie Leafey (Gloucester City, NJ/Gloucester City) raced home from second base with the winning run on a ground out in the bottom of the seventh inning in the opening game and the Rutgers University-Camden softball team stretched its winning streak to 11 games in the nightcap as it swept past Immaculata University, 3-2 and 6-2, in a non-conference doubleheader here Wednesday night.
The doubleheader was the home opener for the Scarlet Raptors, who improved to 14-3 and tied the fifth-longest winning streak in program history, accomplished from March 13-April 3, 2007.
Immaculata, which had won five of its previous seven games, fell to 8-9.
Both teams return to conference play in their next doubleheader. Rutgers-Camden opens its New Jersey Athletic Conference schedule Saturday at 1 p.m. when it visits New Jersey City University. Immaculata, which is 5-0 in the Colonial States Athletic Conference, plays at CSAC foe Keystone College Tuesday at 3 p.m.
The Scarlet Raptors had to rally late to overcome the pitching of Immaculata junior Meagan Fitzgerald (Saylorsburg, PA/Pleasant Valley), who took a six-hit shutout and a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning. In that frame, senior first baseman Kaitlyn Gaskill (Pennsville, NJ/Pennsville Memorial) drew a one-out walk and freshman Steph Carfagno (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill West) came in as a pinch-runner. One out later, senior catcher Christina Tamburrino (Williamstown, NJ/Williamstown) was hit by a pitch, extending her program career record to 27. Junior Gabby Colon (Buena, NJ/Buena Regional) followed with a pinch-hit RBI double down the right field line, and Tamburrino caught the Mighty Macs off guard on the play by swiping home to tie the game.
Those runs offset a couple of unearned runs that Immaculata scored off Raptor senior Ashleigh Johnson (Bordentown, NJ/Bordentown Regional)in the fourth and fifth innings. They scored in the fourth on a RBI single by junior third baseman Jenny Barnholt (Glen Mills, PA/Garnet Valley). She plated junior leftfielder Danielle Palmisano (Tobyhanna, PA/Pocono Mt. East), who had struck out and reached on a passed ball.
Immaculata added its second run in the fifth on a single, a sacrifice and an infield throwing error.
For the game, Leafey went 3-for-4 with one run, while Tamburrino was 2-for-2 with a run for Rutgers-Camden.
Sophomore designated player Samantha Strickland (Hazlet, NJ/Raritan)went 2-for-3 for the Mighty Macs.
Johnson (8-1) hurled a six-hitter, allowing two walks and the two unearned runs. She struck out seven.
Fitzgerald (7-4) allowed eight hits and three earned runs in her 6-2/3 inning complete game. She walked one and struck out six.
Rutgers-Camden broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run third inning, aided by three hits – two of them infield hits off Immaculata senior pitcher Nicole Curcione (Somers Point, NJ/Our Lady of Mercy Academy) – and a two-out, two-run throwing error. Senior shortstop Courtney Ray (Gloucester City, NJ/Miami Palmetto, FL) had an infield RBI single in the frame.
For the game, Eltzholtz went 3-for-3 with two runs, while Larson was 2-for-3 with one run and one RBI. Leafey added one hit to stretch her hitting streak to nine games.
Strickland went 2-for-4 with one RBI for Immaculata. Curcione (5-2) hurled a nine-hitter, with three walks and six runs (three earned). She didn’t have a strikeout.