FORT COLLINS, COLORADO — Rutgers softball season is not over yet. The Scarlet Knights are among the 12-team field that will travel to Colorado for the 2022 National Invitational Softball Championship.
The NISC is a Division-I postseason softball event that will be played at the TC Colorado Field, just outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. The NISC began in 2017 and this will be Rutgers season appearance having played in the tournament in 2019. This year’s NISC features a double-elimination format with the top four seeds receiving a first-round bye. The event concludes with the Championship Round on May 25-26 with the last four teams competing for the title.
Friday, May 20 (all times ET):
Bowling Green vs. Stephen F. Austin, 10:30 a.m.
Kansas vs. George Washington, 1 p.m.
UC San Diego vs. Rutgers, 3:30 p.m.
Tarleton State vs. North Alabama, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 21
TBA vs. Virginia, 10:30 a.m.
TBA vs. Central Arkansas, 1 p.m.
TBA vs. Baylor, 3:30 p.m.
TBA vs. UNLV, 6 p.m.
Rutgers softball posted a 17-game turnaround from last season and enters the tournament at 25-28 overall. The Scarlet Knights collected a 22-11 nonconference record, which included a 10-3 start, the best opening for the program since 1981 and a trip to the AIAW College World Series. RU also garnered the most Big Ten Weekly honors since joining the league in 2014-15 and had its first two First Team All-Big Ten honorees.
Gabrielle Callaway and sophomore shortstop Kyleigh Sand top the stat sheet for the Scarlet Knights after earning First Team All-Big Ten honors last week. Callaway, in her third season at Rutgers, ranks in the top ten in six Big Ten statistical categories, including leading the RU with 10 home runs. She is currently second on the Rutgers single-season leaders list with 47 RBIs. The Mobile, Alabama native was also responsible for a trio of walk-offs this season in wins over Colgate, Siena and Holy Cross. Sand, who joined the Scarlet Knights this season, meanwhile ranks among the top ten in seven Big Ten statistical categories. She is the first Scarlet Knight since 2011 to hit .400 or higher in a season and among Rutgers single-season leaders is third in hits (66) and seventh in stolen bases (22). Additionally, her team-leading 48 runs helped the Scarlet Knights to the most runs score since 2015.
Inside the circle, junior Jaden Vickers has four games this season with double-digit strikeouts. Her 16 K’s against Princeton on Feb. 25 are the most in Scarlet Knight individual records dating back to 2004. She is also seventh in career strikeouts (258) and tied for fourth in season strikeouts (172). Classmate Ashley Hitchcock is sixth all-time in strikeouts with 265 K’s in her three seasons “On The Banks”.
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