RU drops road loss to Rider
Even with junior righthander Slater McCue — who has made only four appearances this season with one start — on the hill, the Rutgers baseball team still had the momentum of a 2-1 series win against No. 4 Louisville.
It seems as if the series victory had an inverse effect, as the Scarlet Knights dropped a 9-3 loss yesterday to Rider in Lawrenceville, N.J.
Greg Fazio drove a two-run shot out of Sonny Pittaro field yesterday to put the game out of reach for the Knights.
The performance by the Broncos was expected by head coach Fred Hill, who said Monday that Rider always plays his teams tough no matter the talent differences.
The first and only sign of offensive production with runners in scoring position came in the top of the sixth, when Rutgers had the bases loaded with no outs.
Junior outfielder Brian O’Grady delivered a double down the right field line to clear the bases and bring the Knights within four runs.
But Rutgers’ bullpen could not hold down Rider’s offense, in large part because of Fazio, who had five RBI in the game.
The pitching staff was largely ineffective, as McCue lasted just two innings before he was pulled for freshman righthander Reed Shuttle.
McCue gave up four earned runs on five hits in the second inning, prompting Hill to make the switch.
Fazio singled in Justin Thomas, James Locklear collected a two-RBI double and Ian Lindsay brought in Mike Parsons with a sacrifice fly to extend the lead 4-0. Rider collected 10 hits against Rutgers pitchers.
While this game is not a clear indicator of what the Knights are capable of — wins leader senior lefthander Rob Smorol will take the mound in their next game Thursday against Villanova — Hill was not looking to drop a game against the Broncos as they continue to push their record over .500 on the season.
For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @ Bradly_D.