Mike Ballard| RU-C Sports Information Director
When the Rutgers University-Camden softball team took the field at Immaculata University here Tuesday, the Scarlet Raptors hadn’t played a varsity game for 10 days.
Rutgers-Camden, however, picked up right where it left off in its last games of spring break in Florida and the Scarlet Raptors swept the Mighty Macs, 6-3 and 4-1, in a non-conference doubleheader.
The sweep lifted the Scarlet Raptors above .500 at 7-6 and extended their winning streak to six games.
The Mighty Macs fell to 6-10.
Rutgers-Camden (5-6) was set to begin New Jersey Athletic Conference play Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Ramapo College.
Rutgers-Camden 6, Immaculata 3
The Scarlet Raptors, who last played in a pair of games March 17 in Kissimmee, Florida, didn’t waste any time getting on the board. Senior centerfielder Lauren Hatzelhoffer (Brick, NJ/Brick Memorial) singled, stole second, advanced to third on a double by junior leftfielder Tabby Dick (Gloucester City, NJ/Gloucester City) and scored on a sacrifice fly by junior second baseman Courtney Ray (Gloucester City, NJ/Miami Palmetto, FL). Senior pitcher Amanda Cassella (Atco, NJ/Hammonton) plated Dick with a single.
Immaculata tied the game in the bottom of the second on a two-run home run from freshman designated player Maleaha Himmons (Boothwyn, PA/Chichester), but the Raptors took the lead for good in the third inning. Hatzelhoffer singled, advanced on a fly out, stole third and scored on a single by Ray.
Hatzelhoffer singled home two more runs in the fourth inning and the Raptors added their final run in the fifth on a double by Cassella and an RBI single by junior shortstop Kaitlyn Gaskill (Pennsville, NJ/Pennsville Memorial).
Cassella (4-3) went the distance, scattering nine hits and three walks. She allowed three earned runs and struck out four.
Hatzelhoffer paced the 11-hit Raptor attack with a 3-for-4 game. She stole two bases, scored two runs and drove home two. Cassella went 2-for-3 with one run and one RBI, while Gaskill was 2-for-4 with one RBI.
Rutgers-Camden 4, Immaculata 1
In the nightcap, Cassella went 2-for-2 with one run and one RBI as the designated player to back the pitching of junior Ashleigh Johnson (Bordentown, NJ/Bordentown Regional). Johnson (2-3) worked six innings of five-hit ball, allowing only one earned run while striking out five. She didn’t walk a batter.
Junior Brittany Sullivan (West Deptford, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) worked a perfect seventh inning to collect her first save.
Rutgers-Camden gave Johnson all the support she needed in the first inning when junior leftfielder Jackie Leafey (Gloucester City, NJ/Gloucester City) triples and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ray. Cassella followed with a solo home run to give the Raptors a 2-0 lead.
Rutgers-Camden added two more runs in the sixth on four hits, including RBI singles by Gaskill and junior catcher Caitlyn Pipolo (Woodbury, NJ/Woodbury).
Immaculata scored its lone run of the game in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single from losing pitcher Nicole Curcione (Somers Point, NJ/Our Lady of Mercy Academy).
For the doubleheader, Cassella went 4-for-5, while Gaskill was 3-for-6, Ray was 2-for-5 and Hatzelhoffer was 3-for-8.