June 23, 2018 | ° F

Knights pitch past Blue Hens in win

An offense that featured five starters with .300 or better averages was not the ideal opponent for a pitcher making his first collegiate start.

But sophomore righthander Jon Young responded with six-and-two-thirds innings yesterday for the Rutgers baseball team (19-19, 8-7) against Delaware (26-13) for a 4-2 victory.

For Young, it was a testament to his comfort in a starting role.

“I felt pretty good and I felt loose,” said Young, whose outing against the Blue Hens was the longest of his career. “I felt comfortable starting. ... I’m getting into a groove right now.”

Young lasted into the seventh inning before head coach Fred Hill called for senior reliever Nathaniel Roe to finish the game.

Roe, who has struggled in his last couple appearances, responded with two and a third innings of one-hit ball to record his third save of the season. Roe also recorded three strikeouts and one walk, a crucial performance for the Scarlet Knights, who are looking for consistency from their bullpen.

“It was great to see,” said sophomore outfielder Vinny Zarrillo. “His last couple of outings I know he wasn’t happy with. So for him to come in and do well, it was nice to see.”

With Rutgers holding a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh, senior catcher Jeff Melillo doubled into left field to bring in redshirt freshman shortstop John Jennings. The RBI made it a 4-1 game in favor of the Knights before first baseman Jimmy Yezzo’s RBI single brought the Blue Hens within two going into the final two innings.

But Hill was able to call on Roe to secure Rutgers’ third straight midweek victory, and Young’s performance as a starter gave Hill confidence in his pitching staff moving forward.

“Delaware is a good-hitting team and Jon and Nate were able to hold them down today,” Hill said in a statement. “They were both able to stay ahead in the count and throw strikes, only walking two batters. That’s the key.”

The way Rutgers played against an offensively strong Delaware team has Hill excited for the near future.

“I was happy with the way we jumped out early with some timely hits, that makes it easier,” Hill said. “I was pleased by the way we bounced back and earned the win today.”

For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @Bradly_D. For general Rutgers sports updates follow @TargumSports.

By Bradly Derechailo

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