Wagner shocks Rutgers with 10-run rally
When John O’Reilly recorded a routine groundout to shortstop to end the top of the seventh inning, a career-day on the hill came to a close.
Through a career-high seven innings of work, the freshman right-hander exited the game in line to extend his team-best wins tally to four on the season after keeping the Wagner bats quiet with only one run on three hits.
But in the eighth inning, the unthinkable happened.
Rutgers head baseball coach Joe Litterio turned to Colin Bohnert in relief, but the Seahawks shelled the sophomore right-hander for four earned runs on four hits in what eventually snowballed into a 10-run frame.
With only six more outs to spare when they returned to the plate in the bottom half of the inning, the Scarlet Knights couldn’t climb back out of the seven-run deficit, dropping an 11-4 midweek battle to Wagner (9-10-1) on Tuesday at Bainton Field.
The defeat deflates the non-conference mark to 5-16 on the year for Rutgers (10-20, 5-4).
In a game that was not originally on the regular season schedule, the Knights were practically in cruise control through the first seven frames.
After drawing first blood in the bottom of the first on junior second baseman Chris Suseck’s RBI single through the right side, Rutgers gradually built its lead.
Suseck was perfect at the plate and on the basepaths, going 3-for-3 with two walks, an RBI and a stolen base.
The rest of the lineup hopped all over the Seahawks’ pitching staff.
Rutgers pounded out 13 hits, but managed to leave 14 runners on base. When Wagner exploded late in the eighth, the Knights mustered a mild threat afterward with four hits in their two last licks at the plate, but stranded all four runners.
Back in the same leadoff spot he thrived in last year as a freshman, sophomore centerfielder Mike Carter helped knock in two runs before stealing third and rumbling home on a wild pitch to bolster Rutgers to an early 4-1 lead in the ballgame.
Nine out of the 11 Seahawks batters recorded a hit. Nick Mascelli led Wagner's late parade at the plate, going 3-for-5 with an RBI on the day and igniting the rally by ripping a leadoff single into left field to serve as the first man on base in an inning that seemed to never end.
Ben Ruta followed for the Seahawks, notching a 2-for-4 day at the plate. He was one of three Wagner batters to contribute two runs in the ballgame.
Rutgers turned to sophomore Max Herrmann, but the left-hander couldn't record an out before giving way to Ryan Fleming. The sophomore left-hander surrendered three more runs, but recorded the final five outs in one and two-thirds innings behind three strikeouts in his relief appearance.
The Knights return to action in the Bronx to take on Fordham today at 3 p.m.
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