Offense backs rookie in first career win
With the addition of a midweek game that stemmed from two cancellations from the excess proportions of rain in Piscataway during the week, the Rutgers baseball team made up for the lost time.
After the Villanova and Monmouth games were cancelled Tuesday and Wednesday, the Scarlet Knights picked up a game yesterday against Iona, marking the third time the two teams have played.
For the Knights, it was a game that they really needed, no matter what outcome befell them.
“We came out after a couple of rainouts, we just did some light workouts this week after a weekend series in the hot weather down in Florida and I wanted to get some rest for these guys,” said head coach Joe Litterio. “We’re losing days and we have exams coming up, so we had to play this game and get the live work that we needed.”
Everything came together for Rutgers (20-22) as it beat the Gaels (8-26), 10-5, in its first game at Bainton Field in over a week.
Following freshman lefthander Ryan Fleming’s departure from the game after three and one-third innings, freshman righthander Colin Bohnert transitioned seamlessly onto the rubber.
The West Caldwell, N.J., native earned his first career win, lasting four and one-third innings — the longest outing of his career — striking out three batters and allowing only five hits.
For Bohnert, he was still riding on nerves after he had one of the more productive outings of his young career.
“It feels good,” Bohnert said of his first career win. “I was able to put my fastball on both sides of the plate, my changeup was real good and my slider was over the plate for strikes. We got a lot of hits and runs, so that took the pressure off and I could just go after hitters.”
By the time the Knights had finished their last licks in the bottom of the eighth, they recorded 11 hits and plated 10 runners to support their young pitchers on the mound.
Senior shortstop Pat Sweeney led the charge for Rutgers, as he went 3-for-3 at the plate, producing three RBI and scoring two runs.
The performance caps a hitting surge for the Sparta, N.J., native, who is now batting .375 after yesterday’s impressive offensive display.
Sweeney credits the training during the week for the performance he forwarded.
“We had some chances to hit during the week when we had some off days,” Sweeney said. “It’s all just about being consistent, and I feel really good right now at the plate, so I just want to keep things rolling.”
In the grand scheme of the season, this midweek win will help toward providing momentum as the Knights close out their last three weekend series against AAC opponents.
“Hopefully this [win] does what it did last time against Lafayette. We came out and played that Thursday game and rolled with it into the weekend,” Litterio said. “Everybody knows what’s in front of us and what we have to do. Hopefully [this good play] carries over.”
For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow Tyler Karalewich on Twitter @TylerKaralewich. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.