Pitching causes issues in defeat
After an all-around successful day on Tuesday in Lakewood against Fordham, where the Rutgers baseball team collected a season-high 17 hits and supported its pitchers with 13 runs, the Scarlet Knights were unable to duplicate any of that success yesterday against Columbia.
Picking up a midweek game after postponing the game last week, Rutgers was unable to support a pitching staff that allowed 13 runs on 14 hits.
The offense for the Knights backed the six pitchers who threw with only five hits, three of which came in the seventh and eighth inning.
Ultimately, the Lions beat Rutgers by a score of 13-2 at Bainton Field.
The bulk of Columbia’s runs came in the first four innings, where they led the Knights, 10-0, entering the bottom of the fourth.
Head coach Joe Litterio made no excuses after the loss but said he expected more from his team.
“You have to come out ready to play every game, I think that’s the bottom line,” Litterio said yesterday after the loss. “We can use all the excuses in the world about how we played last night in a stadium atmosphere and then coming here today in the afternoon with not as many fans as last night. But bottom line is we didn’t come out ready to play.”
While Rutgers was not sharp on the mound, giving up 13 earned runs, six walks and 14 hits, it did receive a boost from senior righthander Charlie Lasky.
Lasky pitched three innings — a season high — and only allowed one hit while collecting a strikeout in relief.
The Freehold, N.J., native also held the Lions in check after he entered with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning. A sac fly, foul out and ground out Lasky forced kept the lead from opening up any further.
“We’re down big so our hitters want to get back up there and try to tie the game. So you just have to work quick, get outs and get them back up to the plate,” Lasky said. “I could control my fastball, get ahead with that and just work with my curveball after that. I felt like I had control of all my pitches.”
While Litterio will take no moral victories or consolation in an 11-run loss, he felt Lasky provided something positive for the team moving forward.
“If you want to look at a bright spot in today’s game, it’s real tough for me to do that, but Lasky would be it,” Litterio said. “The way he came out, we are going to need someone like him to chew up some innings and he did a good job doing it.”
While Rutgers’ pitching struggled, the staff for Columbia kept the Knights’ offense off balance all day. The Knights collected only five hits and struck out 12 times against Lion pitchers.
Senior first baseman Brian O’Grady was 0-for-2 at the plate and could not seem to find a hole in the field offensively, just like the rest of the Knights.
“I’m not too sure [what our issue was at the plate]. For me, at least, I felt I was on pitches but I just missed them a little bit,” O’Grady said. “The team, as a whole, was kept off balance a bit with off speed and we just didn’t have a good day.”
While no team wants to lose, Rutgers was able to play six freshmen, who came in as either defensive changes or pinch hitters and otherwise would not have played.
This added experience benefits the Knights down the road, but Litterio would have liked the experience to come on a different stage.
“When you get a game like this, you hope it is the other way — when you are up 10 [runs],” Litterio said. “You want to get those guys in. Any opportunity you can get those young guys in, and get some experience, it’s important.”
For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow Tyler Karalewich on Twitter @TylerKaralewich. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.