Pair of rookie pitchers ensure RU home win
There are a few things that can help a young pitching staff become more acclimated and make their job easier.
For the Rutgers baseball team, several things have been stressed all year by head coach Joe Litterio in order to benefit the young pitching staff.
Chief among the concerns from Litterio were amassing enough innings for the young pitchers. It also helps when those young pitchers receive plenty of run support and are backed up by a strong offensive output.
The Scarlet Knights had everything going for them in a 7-5 win yesterday at Bainton Field, both on offense and on the mound, at least until the ninth inning.
Rutgers sent redshirt freshman righthander Kyle Driscoll to the mound against Iona for his sixth start of the season.
When it was time to give the ball over to someone else in the top of the ninth with Rutgers leading, 7-0, it took three pitchers to shut the door for the Knights.
Freshmen lefthander Donovan Waller and righthander Sean Kelly combined to record only one out, issuing six hits and five runs.
That was enough for Litterio, as he sent out junior Jon Young to record his fifth save of the season. The righthander needed just eight pitches — all strikes — to give Rutgers the victory.
By the time Driscoll sat down in the top of the sixth inning, the Knights had already backed him up with four runs and seven hits and he was in line for his second win of the season.
Driscoll had Rutgers’ back with five innings, no earned runs and only one hit allowed, striking out five batters in the process.
Two walks and 91 pitches left something to be desired for Driscoll, as he was not completely satisfied with his outing.
“The first inning was good when I came out and then the second inning I started throwing a little wild,” Driscoll said. “When that happened I kind of just had to keep putting the ball over the plate and let my defense do the work. They did, and did the job well.”
Freshman lefthander Max Herrmann relieved Driscoll and did his job to maintain the 4-0 lead.
Although Driscoll struggled slightly, it was still a quality outing, Litterio said.
“At the start, Kyle struggled with his command, but only gave up one hit,” Litterio said. “For him that’s not a great outing, because of all the walks. But he kept us in the game, or exactly where we needed to be.”
Herrmann pitched three scoreless innings and struck out five batters in the short span.
With Rutgers not knowing what it was going to get from youth on the mound, it proved vital for the Knights to forward as many runs as possible in support.
Junior outfielder Joe D’Annunzio went 2-for-4 for Rutgers with a triple and RBI, also scoring the last run for the Knights in the bottom of the eighth.
That run proved vital for Rutgers, and all run support was important, D’Annunzio said.
“It’s astronomical how important it is to get run support for these young pitchers. You can see by the scoreboard that no lead is ever safe,” D’Annunzio said. “It doesn’t matter whether you are up by 10 or up by one, it doesn’t matter with any staff, you always want to score. It helps out young pitchers especially to pitch with a lead.”
For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow Tyler Karalewich on Twitter @TylerKaralewich. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.