Wolverton earns 100th Raptor win
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (March 22, 2013) – The Rutgers University-Camden softball team and Head Coach Brian Wolverton won’t forget their spring break trip to the Snowbird Invitational.
The Scarlet Raptors posted a 3-1 victory over Division II Mansfield University here Friday morning. The victory was the 100th collegiate win for Wolverton, making him only the second coach in program history to reach the century mark.
They completed their trip with their ninth straight victory later in the day, posting a five-inning 11-2 win over the University of Minnesota-Morris.
Rutgers-Camden, which swept its nine-game trip to raise its record to 12-3, returns home Wednesday for a 7 p.m. non-conference doubleheader with Immaculata University.
Rutgers-Camden 3, Mansfield 1
The Scarlet Raptors rode the strong five-hit pitching of senior Ashleigh Johnson (Bordentown, NJ/Bordentown Regional) and scored all the runs they needed with a clutch two-out, three-run double in the fourth inning by senior centerfielder Jackie Leafey (Gloucester City, NJ/Gloucester City) to give Wolverton his milestone win.
Now in his sixth year as the Rutgers-Camden head coach, Wolverton has compiled a 101-101-1 record with the Scarlet Raptors after Friday’s two wins. Many of those losses came in his first season of 2008, when Rutgers-Camden faced a major rebuilding season and posted an 8-28-1 mark.
During his career as the head coach, Wolverton has led the Scarlet Raptors to three ECAC Metro tournament berths, including the 2009 ECAC title. During Wolverton’s first year with the program, as an assistant under Head Coach Carl Taylor in 2006, the Scarlet Raptors won the Division III national championship. Only Taylor, who coached the team 12 seasons from 1996-2007, has more softball coaching wins at Rutgers-Camden than Wolverton, compiling a 249-130-2 record.
Johnson had to be on her game as she locked up in a pitching duel with Mounties senior Caitlin Klobosits (Coplay, PA/Whitehall). Johnson raised her record to 7-1 with her five-hitter, allowing just one earned run on a fourth-inning solo homer by junior Kate Pratt (Troy, PA/Troy). Johnson walked one and struck out five.
Mansfield, which falls to 8-7, threatened to tie the game in the top of the seventh, placing the tying runs in scoring position with two outs, but Johnson ended the game by getting senior catcher Chara Dixon (Shermans Dale, PA/West Perry) on a fly out to Raptor freshman rightfielder Lexi Fair (Deptford, NJ/Gloucester County Institute of Technology).
Shortly after the Mounties grabbed their 1-0 lead, the Raptors struck for three unearned runs off Klobosits to decide the game. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, freshman designated hitter Sam Shockey (Deptford, NJ/Deptford) and senior first baseman Kaitlyn Gaskill (Pennsville, NJ/Pennsville Memorial) both singled to left center. Senior shortstop Courtney Ray (Gloucester City, NJ/Miami Palmetto, FL) reached on an infield error, loading the bases. Leafey cleared the bags with a double down the right field line.
Those fourth-inning hits were the only ones Klobosits allowed in her three-hitter as her record dropped to 6-2. She allowed the three unearned runs and no walks, while striking out eight.
The only player in the game with multiple hits was Mansfield freshman designated hitter Ashley Inman (Tunkhannock, PA/Tunkhannock), who went 2-for-3.
Rutgers-Camden 11, Minnesota-Morris 2
The Scarlet Raptors ended their spring trip with a bang in a five-inning game as they stretched their winning streak to nine games, tied for the sixth-longest string in program history. It’s the longest streak since the team won nine straight from April 21-May 6, 2007. The most recent streak that was longer also came during the 2007 season, on March 13-April 3, when the Raptors rolled off 11 straight wins.
The program record is 29 straight wins, from March 25-May 6, by the 2006 team that finished as the Division III national champions.
Leafey, whose huge three-run double won the opening game, capped the nightcap with a grand slam in the fifth inning, giving the Raptors the cushion that allowed them to win the game early due to the eight-run rule.
Leafey’s grand slam, her first home run in her two-year Raptor career, was the first slam by a Scarlet Raptor since Autumn Millett hit one in the sixth inning of the opening game of a doubleheader against Rutgers-Newark on April 28, 2007. That slam was the last of a single-season program record four grand slams that year for Millett, who capped her senior season as a First Team All-American.
Leafey finished the game 2-for-4 with three runs scored and the four RBIs. She also had a fourth-inning double.
The beneficiary of the Scarlet Raptors’ 10-hit attack was senior Brittany Sullivan (West Deptford, NJ/Gloucester Catholic), who worked four innings for her first decision of the season. She allowed only one hit – a leadoff single in the second inning by junior leftfielder Jordan Iverson (Hitterdal, MN/Hawley). Sullivan walked four and allowed only two unearned runs, while striking out three. Johnson finished off the game with a perfect bottom of the fifth, striking out the final batter.
The Raptors took the lead for good with a pair of second-inning runs. Senior first baseman Christina Tamburrino (Williamstown, NJ/Williamstown) roped a one-out double to left and eventually scored on a ground out by junior catcher Gabby Colon (Buena, NJ/Buena Regional). Freshman leftfielder Lindsay Day (Mays Landing, NJ/Oakcrest) followed Tamburrino’s double by reaching as a hit batsman. She later scored on an error.
Rutgers-Camden added four runs in the third, with Day sandwiching a two-run double between RBI doubles by Tamburrino and Colon.
The Raptors’ fourth-inning run came when Leafey doubled and scored on a single by Ray.
Leafey, Tamburrino, Colon and senior third baseman Danielle Meng (Pennsauken, NJ/Pennsauken) each collected two hits for the Raptors.