RU offensive struggles result in two losses
Whenever a pitcher allows only one earned run, there is a strong possibility that the team will walk away with a win.
For the Rutgers baseball team, its continued struggles at the plate resulted in two losses to William & Mary, a team head coach Fred Hill believes his team is better than.
Despite senior righthander Charlie Law’s 12-strikeout performance, the Knights could not secure runs in Sunday’s 4-3 loss.
“I was disappointed. I think our players are disappointed,” Hill said. “We did some good things, but we made some errors and didn’t hit with men in scoring position. You can’t win that way.”
Rutgers batted .192 in the three-game series with runners in scoring position — a number Hill said will not help his team.
While the pitching performances, specifically Law’s, was a sign of improvement, Rutgers cannot expect to win too many games leaving men on base.
Law went seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. The 114-pitch performance improved his ERA to 9.50, a substantial improvement from the almost 15 ERA he had before.
Rutgers took a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth, as senior first baseman Bill Hoermann drove in senior outfielder Steve Zavala, and sophomore outfielder Vinny Zarrillo took home on a wild pitch.
The bullpen could not hold as William & Mary rallied for the victory.
The loss takes away from how well Law pitched, and fellow senior right hander Tyler Gebler can sympathize with the Mainland, N.J., native.
“It puts you back a little,” said Gebler on pitching well in a loss. “We were getting hits, but just a lot of late-game situations we were unable to get this weekend. As a pitcher, you just have to keep going and know that those hits are going to come. We just have to get on teams earlier and not wait until the last inning to make a push.”
His performance was also a relief for Hill, who said he was willing to make changes to the rotation in order to see more production.
“He pitched very well,” Hill said. “He had a good breaking ball and spotted his changeup well. It is very important. Usually you have a so-so chance in the third game. He gives us a good chance in that third game.”
Gebler was able to deliver his best performance on the hill in the Knights’ second game Saturday, a 5-3 win against the Tribe in 10 innings.
Gebler went nine innings and allowed just one run on three hits.
After William & Mary (10-5) tied the game in the bottom of the ninth to send it into extras, Rutgers responded with two runs to put the game out of reach.
In all, three starters for Rutgers (3-9) — Gebler, Law and senior lefthander Rob Smorol — allowed just two runs.
It is a promising sign for the Knights — with their offense still trying to find consistency.
“That’s a major plus,” Hill said. “If you don’t have any pitching, you’ll be in trouble. Right now, we have some hitters, but they are not doing the job right now.”
Zavala, who had six hits in the series, knows that — in order to succeed in the Big East — the offense cannot just bat .248 as a team.
The close losses, which could have been converted into wins with timely hitting, leave a bitter feeling.
“It’s pretty bad,” Zavala said. “We thought we were going to win both of them. It’s a little bit tougher because we knew we had it in our grasps.”
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