September 23, 2018 | ° F

Nova gives RU stress to perform

There is at least one luxury for the Rutgers baseball team Tyler Gebler knows will kick in once his teams gets over the .500 mark.

“I mean, for practice we get Gatorade, so I guess that’s an incentive right there,” said the senior righthander.

Only water will be available for the Scarlet Knights if they keep producing losses like the one suffered Tuesday against Rider.

The Knights (8-12, 2-1) struggled against the Bronc’s pitching staff, as they generated just three runs in Lawrenceville, N.J.

The performance was an obvious letdown from the previous series Rutgers had against Louisville on March 22-23, when it clinched its first series victory against a ranked team since 2010.

From the way the team acted leading up to the midweek game, the loss did not surprise head coach Fred Hill.

“We just didn’t show up,” Hill said. “Our attitude before the game was poor, and I don’t think we were ready to play, and obviously everybody we play wants to get a piece of us. We just weren’t ready to play.”

Senior outfielder Steve Zavala backed up Hill’s claim Rutgers underestimated its last opponent.

“We expected to win just on talent alone,” Zavala said. “It was a classic case of coming off a huge victory and getting complacent. We kind of showed up expected our talent to speak for itself and the loss just shows that we can’t take anyone for granted.”

The Knights will have to deal with avoiding a letdown to a less talented team again beginning today, as they will play away at Villanova for a three-game series.

The Wildcats (6-16, 0-0) have lost their last four games, including a three-game sweep at the hands of Cornell.

Rutgers cannot keep looking back to its performance against Louisville to show what it is capable of, But Gebler believes the team needs to replicate that kind of production, at least on the mound.

“We just had a lot of energy,” Gebler said. “Every pitch we were kind of fighting. We were just getting ahead of guys and once we were ahead we buried guys, so we have to get back to that.”

Gebler pitched in the Knights’ only loss of the series against the Cards, but allowed just one earned run in 6.2 innings of work to earn a no decision. The Tom River, N.J., native gave up four hits with one strikeout.

Gebler, along with senior lefthander Rob Smorol and righthander Charlie Law, combined for only four earned runs between them in the series.

The recent success for Hill’s starting rotation should be able to control games against Villanova, who is dead last in the Big East with a .223 team batting average.

But sitting just one spot ahead of the Wildcats in that category is Rutgers with a .259 average.

Hill is just worried about his team overlooking another less talented opponent.

“I’m looking for them to come out to play and give 100 percent effort,” Hill said. “It’s pretty hard to beat anyone in this league without 100 percent effort, so we are always looking for that. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t.”

By Bradly Derechailo

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