Knights drop two of three to Hoyas
Rutgers head baseball coach Fred Hill emphasizes walks in his coaching philosophy, calling them “freebies.”
The Scarlet Knights experienced the worst of both, walking Georgetown and allowing Hoyas hits in last weekend’s series in which the Knights took one of three games in Bethesda, Md.
The series culminated in a 9-4 Rutgers win Sunday, when the Knights did not walk a single batter.
“Sunday, we didn’t walk anybody,” Hill said. “That’s really the difference in the games.”
Senior pitcher Ryan Fasano started the final game of the series. He allowed three runs and pitched eight innings despite pitching four days earlier against Wagner.
With a 3.06 ERA and only a 2-3 record, Fasano is accustomed to a lack of run support. He recently experienced it against Wagner, when he pitched four shutout innings but received a no-decision.
The Knights trailed, 4-1, entering the seventh inning, only three innings away from a possible Georgetown sweep. Then they scored seven runs in two innings.
“[Run support] makes things a lot easier in different situations,” Fasano said. “You’re not as afraid of them making contact.”
Sophomore shortstop Pat Sweeney broke the 4-4 tie in the top of the eighth inning with a single through the left side that scored junior rightfielder Steve Zavala.
Sophomore centerfielder Brian O’Grady then recorded an RBI for the second straight game out of the leadoff spot. He tripled to score the two runners on base, and then scored on a throwing error.
The Rutgers lineup produced in Saturday’s 10-inning, 13-12 loss, but Georgetown produced at the right times.
The Hoyas walked eight times, and the Knights paid for putting them on base, especially in the 10th inning.
Junior pitcher Charlie Law allowed two baserunners by hitting one with a pitch and walking the other. That set up two run-scoring hits from shortstop Mike Garza and designated hitter Corbin Blakely, who hit a walk-off single.
“Saturday, we gave up too many freebies,” Hill said. “That kept [Georgetown] in the game. If we hadn’t done that, I think we would have had an easier time.
Senior third baseman Pat Kivlehan went 4-for-6 with two home runs — one occurred in the top of the 10th — batted in five and scored three runs.
“It was one of those days when things went the right way,” Kivlehan said. “Some days they just give you the right pitches.”
Friday was not one of those days.
Georgetown ended Kivlehan’s seven-game multi-hit streak in its 13-1 series-opening win.
The rest of the lineup struggled, too, with only six hits and one walk.
Rutgers (13-12, 3-3) entered the series winners of five of its last six games. Even without a productive lineup, the pitching also did its part in preventing that number from being six of seven.
“I was surprised,” Hill said. “It’s the first so-so outing that we’ve had from our pitchers [in a while].”
Junior righty Tyler Gebler (1-2) suffered the loss, allowing six earned runs and 10 of the Hoyas’ (13-15, 2-4) 18 hits in four innings.
After the Knights’ most lopsided loss of the season, Hill does not want to see a repeat today against Princeton at Bainton Field.
Sophomore righty Slater McCue earns the start for the Knights and has control issues of his own, walking nine and striking out six this year. But Hill is optimistic about McCue’s chances.
“It’s difficult to tell how anybody’s going to react because of the weekday pitchers,” he said. “He’s young and hasn’t pitched a whole lot. I think he’ll be fine.”