NISC, Rutgers, Rutgers softball
Ashley Hitchcock (Photo by Michael Franco - JSN)

Rutgers Softball to Play in NISC

After a turnaround season, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights softball team is among the 12-team field that will compete in the 2022 National Invitational Softball Championship. The NISC is a Division-1 postseason event played at TC Colorado Field, outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. 

It will be Rutgers' second appearance in the NISC which began in 2017. The Scarlet Knights last played in the tournament in 2019. 

The Scarlet Knights enjoyed a 17-game turnaround this season and enter the tournament with a 25-28 overall record. Rutgers, a No. 7 seed, will face UC San Diego, the No. 10 seed, in the tournaments first round on Friday, May 20 at 3:30pm ET. 

The NISC is using a double-elimination format this year and the top four seeds received a first round bye. The winner of Rutgers and UC San Diego will advance in the winners bracket to face the No. 2 seed Baylor. 

The Scarlet Knights have been led this season by Gabrielle Callaway and Kyleigh Sand. Both Callaway and Sands earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors. Callaway leads Rutgers with 10 home runs this season and is currently second on Rutgers All-Time single season leaders list with 47 RBI. Sand, a sophomore shortstop, is the first Scarlet Knight since 2011 to hit .400 or higher in a season. She has scored a team-high 48 runs so far this season.

Pitchers Jaden Vickers and Ashley Hitchcock have led the Scarlet Knights in the circle this season. Vickers has recorded double-digit strikeouts in four games this season, including a game in which she struck out 16 against Princeton on Feb. 25. 

In order to be selected for the NISC, teams had to have an RPI in the national top 100 or have a winning record if its RPI was greater than 100. Conference record, results against the RPI Top 50, last 10 games, notable wins, upset losses and player injuries also were taken into consideration.

The top four seeds have a first-round bye and will start on Saturday, May 21; the No. 1 seed for the 2022 NISC is Virginia (27-24). Baylor (28-24) is the No. 2 seed, UNLV (38-13) is seeded third and No. 4 is Central Arkansas (35-20). Here’s the rest of the field:
 
No. 5 George Washington (36-15)
No. 6 North Alabama (38-18)
No. 7 Rutgers (25-28)
No. 8 Stephen F. Austin (31-25)
No. 9 Bowling Green (32-19)
No. 10 UC San Diego (27-26)
No. 11 Tarleton State (29-23)
No. 12 Kansas (16-34)

NISC schedule for the first two rounds (home team listed second):

 
Friday, May 20 (all times Mountain):
Bowling Green vs. Stephen F. Austin, 8:30 a.m.
Kansas vs. George Washington, 11 a.m.
UC San Diego vs. Rutgers, 1:30 p.m.
Tarleton State vs. North Alabama, 4 p.m.
 
Saturday, May 21
TBA vs. Virginia, 8:30 a.m.
TBA vs. Central Arkansas, 11 a.m.
TBA vs. Baylor, 1:30 p.m.
TBA vs. UNLV, 4 p.m.

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Gregg has lived in New Jersey is entire life and is a current resident of Somerset County. As a huge sports fan, he is passionate about NJ sports at all levels. The former owner of Double G Sports, Gregg has vast experience in sports media and journalism.