Saturday, March 25, 2006
By Mike Ballard
CAMDEN - Senior pitcher Michelle Schlichtig (Barrington, NJ/Haddon Heights) hurled a perfect game in the opener and the Rutgers University-Camden softball team opened its home season with a pair of five-inning shutouts in a non-conference sweep over Keystone College here March 25.
The Lady Raptors, ranked No. 9 in the pre-season National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III poll, won the opener, 14-0, as Schlichtig struck out 13 in the first perfect game of her Rutgers-Camden career. In the nightcap, three Raptor pitchers combined on a one-hitter in an 18-0 victory.
Rutgers-Camden improves its record to 12-4, while Keystone falls to 0-9.
Schlichtig was in control the whole way en route to the fourth no-hitter of her Lady Raptor career. It was the first no-hitter at Rutgers-Camden since Becky Johnson hurled one in the nightcap of a double no-hitter against Malloy College March 18, 2005. Schlichtig had hurled a no-hitter in the opening game.
Schlichtig's gem also was the first perfect game for the Lady Raptors since Lindsay Creaney threw one against New Jersey City University April 27, 2002.
Schlichtig struck out the first nine batters she faced before junior center fielder Megan Giannetto (Scranton, PA/Scranton) flied out to left field and senior pitcher Jackie Barranco (Staten Island, NY/St. John Villa Academy) popped to first base. Schlichtig ended the game with four straight strikeouts.
Rutgers-Camden, meanwhile, scored 10 runs in the first inning, all but one of them unearned, aided by three hits, one error, four walks and two hit batsmen. Lady Raptor sophomore first baseman Kathleen Dreitlein (Berkeley Heights, NJ/Governor Livingston) was hit twice in the frame. The big frame started on one-out walks to junior right fielder Autumn Millett (Richwood, NJ/Clearview Regional) and Schlichtig, who tied a single-game program record by drawing four walks in the game. Junior catcher Mo Baney (Deptford, NJ/Deptford) reached on a dropped fly ball in right field, plating Millett. After Dreitlein was hit for the first time, junior third baseman (Medford, NJ/Bishop Eustace Prep) stroked an RBI single to right and junior shortstop Alaina Giles (Willingboro, NJ/Holy Cross) followed with a sacrifice fly. Two more runs scored on a single to center by freshman left fielder Mandi Moore (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddon Township).
After a walk to freshman second baseman Heather Pohorely (Lebanon, NJ/Hunterdon Central) and a single by freshman center fielder Marissa Van Cleef (Hillsborough, NJ/Hillsborough), Millett and Schlichtig each picked up RBI walks. Baney reached first by striking out on a wild pitch, plating another run, and Dreitlein forced home a run when she was hit again.
The Raptors added a two-run double by Millett in the second inning and plated single runs in the third and fourth innings.
For the game, Moore went 2-for-3 with one run and three RBIs, while Van Cleef went 2-for-4 with two runs. Millett collected three RBIs and Dreitlein had two.
In the nightcap, the Raptors split pitching duties between freshmen Natalie Powell (Williamstown, NJ/Williamstown), sophomore Therese Taraschi (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddonfield) and freshman Nancy Nkumsah (Townsend, DE/Pennsauken), with Taraschi allowing the only hit of the day, a leadoff double in the fourth by Giannetto.
Rutgers-Camden put the game away with a seven-run first inning, highlighted by a three-run home run from Moore. Later in the game, Powell hit a three-run home run and Dreitlein and freshman Heather Taylor (Clementon, NJ/Overbrook) each added solo home runs. The four home runs tied a single-game program record set during a 20-0 victory at Rutgers-Newark in the first game of a doubleheader sweep April 9, 2005.
For the game, Moore went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and five RBIs. Taylor went 2-for-3 with four runs and three RBIs in the team's 14-hit attack. Powell collected three RBIs with her home run, in addition to throwing two perfect innings and collecting the win on the mound in a pre-determined pitching split. She struck out two batters while raising her record to 2-0.
The Lady Raptors return to action with a pair of home doubleheaders next week. On Friday, they host John Jay College of Criminal Justice in a 3 p.m. makeup twinbill. On Saturday, April 1, they open their New Jersey Athletic Conference schedule against defending NJAC champion William Paterson University - the team that beat the Raptors in last season's conference title game - at 1 p.m