Kyleigh Sands of Rutgers Softball was named Player of the Week in the Big 10. Photo: Rutgers Athletics.

What a start to the 2023 campaign for Junior shortstop Kyeligh Sand and Rutgers softball. Not only is Rutgers 5-0 to start the year — its best to a season since 1993, but Sand was named Big Ten Player of the Week after the first weekend of action.

Sand  hit .611 (11-for-18) with eight runs, three RBIs and seven stolen bases at the NorCal Kickoff this past weekend.  It is interesting to note that Sand is riding a 13-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in 41 consecutive games. She is also one stolen base shy of cracking the Top 10 in program history with 30 steals.

Over the weekend, Sands went “2-for-4 with two runs in an 8-0 victory over Utah Valley on Friday. She followed hitting 3-for-3, two runs, an RBI and four stolen bases in an 8-2 win against Santa Clara. Sand’s four stolen bases were the most by a Scarlet Knight in records dating back to 2004.

“On Saturday, Sand continued with a 3-of-4 performance with a double in an 8-5 win versus Seattle adding a run and an RBI and two more stolen bases. The Scarlet Knights junior was then 1-for-4 tacking on a run, RBI and another stolen base in a 5-1 victory over host UC Davis giving Rutgers its best season-opening record in 30 years.

“Sand led Rutgers to the NorCal Kickoff sweep on Sunday going 2-for-3 with a run scored over host Sacramento State. The shortstop broke a scoreless stalemate in the top of the sixth in a 2-1 win,” (Rutgers Athletics).

The Scarlet Knights return to action on Friday in Mobile, Alabama for the Mardi Gras Classic where it will face Missouri State (1 game), Mississippi State (2 games) and South Alabama (two games).