Sophomore takes hill in road contest
Rutgers head baseball coach Fred Hill was disappointed the Scarlet Knights were unable to get at least one victory this weekend against Pittsburgh.
But he also knows his team has some time to recover what made them successful in Big East play.
“Pittsburgh is a real solid team and right at the top of the league, but we did not get the timely hits we needed in the series,” Hill said. “Since we do not have a conference series for two weeks, we have to regroup and get ready for the final push to make the playoffs.”
The Knights (18-19, 8-7) will play five games before their next conference series — a three-game homestand May 3 against Connecticut.
That five-game out-of-conference stretch begins today, when Rutgers travels down the turnpike to play Delaware.
The Knights have had trouble putting teams away this season in midweek action, and the Blue Hens (26-12, 11-7) enter with a better résumé and an offense that most of Rutgers’ midweek opponents have not possessed.
Delaware has five players in its regular lineup batting .300 or better and eight batters on their roster who are above the mark.
Blue Hens second baseman Jimmy Yezzo owns the highest average on the team with a .459 average and leads the team with 10 homeruns and 52 RBI.
If Rutgers wants to be successful against Delaware, it will need to find consistent pitching, which has not been the case all year during midweek action.
Slater McCue was Hill’s first option in midweek action this season, but the senior righthander’s performance in a starting role was ineffective for the Knights, forcing Hill to try other younger relievers in his spot.
Sophomore righthander Jon Young will go today for Hill — a move that could prove useful for the Knights based on his last appearance.
On the road against Lafayette last Tuesday, Young came in relief for freshman righthander Reed Shuttle and senior reliever Nathaniel Row, as both combined to allow six earned runs to the Panthers.
Young finished the game and tossed four-and-two-thirds innings of one-hit ball. The Old Bridge, N.J., native also recorded four strikeouts and no walks.
“He played pretty well in his last two appearances for us,” Hill said. “He has to throw strikes. Obviously he is going to give up a few hits, but he has to throw strikes.”
The one thing that has not been lacking in midweek games for Rutgers is its run production, so offense should not be an issue today when the Knights take the field in Newark, Del.
But senior Charlie Law, who will most likely DH today against the Blue Hens, knows a good performance from Young will go a long way.
“If we can get back to pitching, our lineup is always going to have an opportunity to be really good and produce,” Law said. “It’s only a matter of getting back into our groove.”
For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @Bradly_D. For general Rutgers sports updates follow @TargumSports.