Rutherford’s complete game shutout leads LSUA to conference opening victory

ALEXANDRIA—RyLeigh Rutherford’s complete game shutout led the LSUA softball team to a 6-0 shutout win in the conference opener against Jarvis Christian on Friday at the Generals Softball Field.

After a 5-4 record with a solid 3.37 ERA in 2020, Rutherford pitched a great outing against JCC, pitching seven shutout innings. In those seven innings, she struck out seven and allowed just three hits and two walks.

LSUA (2-3 overall, 1-0 RRAC) scored four runs in its final two at-bats to turn a close game into a comfortable win.

“The things I was most excited about were our energy and focus,” Co-Head Softball Coach Adam Burch said. “We did a fantastic job of maintaining energy in the dugout. Our communication and focus on the field were fantastic.”

The Generals received a gift in the form of a Bailey Hughes fly ball to center that was not caught, landing between center fielder Janae Mitchell and second baseman Meagan Ybarra, going for an error. Hughes strolled into second and scored on a sacrifice bunt and sac fly by Eryn Sanchez.

Two batters later, Lauryn McMahon clobbered a double to left-center to score Haylee Tidwell, who singled before McMahon’s big hit.

“I’m working on being more confident in the box,” McMahon said. “I wanted to see a pitch a drive it wherever. She got the best of me the first time, but I made the adjustments in the final at-bats to get the result I needed.”

That was all the runs the Generals needed, but Rutherford had to escape trouble in the fourth and fifth innings.

“My pitches were somewhat working today,” Rutherford said. “But my defense really backed me up. I have no doubt that whenever the ball is hit that my defense is going to do everything it can to help back me up.”

In the fourth, Rutherford worked around a one-out double to strike out both Elizabeth Avila and Bryana Salinas, leaving Ybarra stranded at second. The following inning, she wiggled out of a jam where she had a runner on third with one out by forcing Rocio Barajas to ground back to her and striking out Graciella Becerra.

The Generals pushed the lead to five in the fifth, giving them breathing room. Amber Giddens walked to lead off the inning and Sanchez doubled, moving Giddens to third. After a fielder’s choice scored a run, McMahon delivered the big blow with her second double and second RBI of the evening, hitting one to left-center field gap, scoring Sanchez.

Rutherford closed the door on the Bulldogs (0-1, 0-1), retiring the final nine batters she faced, recording her first complete game shutout since March 6, 2020, when she shut out Faulkner.

In addition to McMahon’s two hits, Bailey Hughes also added a pair of hits, driving in a run as well. Overall, seven Generals players recorded at least one hit in the contest.

The nine hits put pressure on JCC pitchers Alexandra Montalbo and Tabitha Fernandez. The LSUA hitters got to Montalbo, tagging five runs on her in four innings, and then scoring one more against FGernandez.

JCC recorded just three hits and one extra base hit, by Ybarra.

The Generals wrap up their three-game set against Jarvis Christian on Saturday for a double header beginning at 1 p.m. Game one was originally scheduled for noon, but it was pushed back an hour.

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CUTLINE: RyLeigh Rutherford pitched a three-hit complete game shutout, leading LSUA to a 6-0 win to open conference play

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