Senior battles back from early hole
From the very start of the Rutgers baseball team's home battle against instate rival Princeton, left handed pitcher Dennis Hill already dug a bit of a hole.
Before his start yesterday, the southpaw was 0-4 on the season with a 9.27 ERA and from the top half of the first other disappointing performance seemed on tap. After three Tiger hits, accompanied by a walk and an error by right fielder Michael Lang, the Scarlet Knights quickly found themselves facing a 2-0 deficit.
But Hill slowly worked his way back into control, eventually snagging his first victory while striking out five in the process and allowing only one earned run.
After a forgettable first, the fifth-year senior did not allow a Tiger base runner to advance past second base for the rest of his seven inning outing –– sending his team to victory, and putting the first win in his record column.
"The first win is the hardest, it's true, but it feels very good," Hill said. "One win right now is very good."
Following another two hits and a walk in the second, the lefty went 1-2-3 in the third and continued to work ahead of hitters. Hill then shut the door upon his exit in the seventh with back-to-back strikeouts. Though his nine hits and three walks are some things that are sure to be addressed, Hill can now look up at the season ahead of him.
"[Now] I know that I can do it, instead of working off of the negatives from before I've got a positive to rebound from," Hill said.
Second baseman Steve Nyisztor just kept on trucking around the bases yesterday against the Tigers, thanks to his three hit performance from the plate.
"I was relaxed and feeling good," said Nyiszter of his day. "It's a lot easier when everybody else is hitting too because everyone really came to play today."
The freshman started his arduous day on the base paths with a hustle play at first, breaking up a would-be double play and in the process breaking open the game for the Knights. He later stole second to put himself in scoring position and after advancing to third on an error at shortstop returned to his seat on the dugout after a bases loaded walk to seven-hitter freshman Jeff Melillo.
This only marked the beginning of Nyisztor's busy day on the diamond.
"I felt good on the base paths, I was feeling aggressive," Nyiszter said.
He proved that the very next inning as he lined one up the middle and scooted on to second on a passed ball a few pitches later.
His second and final steal of the game came after an RBI single to left. He was later plated after a throwing error from second to third got by the Tigers' third basemen Matt Conner.
Nyisztor's 3-for-4 showing kept his name atop the team in batting average at .383, but the second baseman reiterated the fact that the team's success is more important than his own.
"I really don't like to worry about stats, as long as we're winning everything's fine," said Nyiszter. "I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing and as long as we keep winning I'll be happy."
In the fifth inning sophomore Ryan Kapp came into the game to replace junior Michael Lang in right field and finished the 1-for-2 from the plate with a single to left. Although it did not appear to be injury-related, Lang was seen stretching his hamstring on the Rutgers side.
The junior went 2-for-3 during his time in the game and kicked off the 10-2 route with a solo home run to left field from the leadoff spot.