Rutgers shuts out Fordham to improve impressive record at Bainton Field
The Rutgers baseball team has made it known through its words how much it enjoys playing at its home Bainton Field.
It has also demonstrated it through its performance on the field.
The Scarlet Knights (12-16, 2-4) welcomed Fordham (14-15, 2-1) on the Banks for a Wednesday afternoon matchup and kept up their winning ways at home by shutting out the Rams, 5-0.
Freshman Serafino Brito (3-2) made his fifth start of the season and delivered with a fine outing to propel himself and his team to a win.
He finished with three strikeouts in five innings of work, not allowing any runs and lowering his ERA to 4.70.
It was a bounce back performance from him after a shaky outing against Monmouth last week, and it is good sign for him and the team moving forward.
“He really pounded the zone,” said head coach Joe Litterio. “He’s had an issue with tipping pitches the last few outings, but we figured it out and today he commanded the zone and kept us in the game.”
It was already the 11th appearance of the season for the rookie, who has earned the trust of his teammates and coaches to be used in big games and high-leverage situations.
With more Big Ten play upcoming, the coaches have been trying to use younger players during games in the middle of the week to get them some experience.
Brito is another piece on a Rutgers pitching staff, which has already proven to be versatile, and he made the most of his opportunity in this midweek matchup.
“It felt amazing,” Brito said. “All my pitches were working, and I was able to stay down in the zone and get ground balls, and the defense did the work.”
Luke Stampfl (1-1) opposed Brito on the mound for the Rams, taking the loss and struggling from the early going.
Things started out quickly for the Knights, as junior outfielder Tom Marcinczyk ripped an RBI triple in the right-center field gap to score teammate Mike Carter and himself, as he crossed the plate on a throwing error to give Rutgers a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Marcinczyk extended his team-leading RBI total to 24 while he adding a stolen base on the day in addition to his extra-base hit.
A catalyst for the Knights on offense throughout the season, he knew it was pivotal to get his team off to a quick start.
“It was really good for us to score early,” Marcinczyk said. “We got some fastballs that we were able to take advantage of and give some support to the pitchers. The pitching was great and shut them out, so it was really their win.”
Rutgers wasn't finished with the scoring in the first inning, as freshman outfielder Jawuan Harris followed with a double, and was brought home by an RBI single from junior Christian Campbell, putting the Knights ahead 3-0.
The four-hit first inning got Rutgers off to the early lead it was hoping for, knocking Stampfl out of the game and allowing them to play a bit more comfortably throughout the game.
“It was very important to get going early, especially in these midweek games where anything can happen,” Litterio said. “We were able to get a three-spot, and then expand it in the second inning, which was huge.”
Brito responded on the mound with a scoreless top of the second inning, shutting the door on Fordham as it was hoping for a rally.
The Knights added 2 more runs in the next few innings to take a 5-0 lead heading into the sixth inning, and Campbell replaced Brito on the mound.
The junior began the game as the designated hitter, but finished by pitching three scoreless innings.
He was replaced in the ninth inning by freshman Kevin Romero, who closed the game for Rutgers and secured the 5-0 win.
Senior second baseman John Jennings contributed with three hits and a stolen base, and the Knights finished with four swipes on the day.
Rutgers finished with nine hits in the game, compared to five for Fordham.
The Knights are now 6-1 at home on the season, with two more games at Bainton Field over the weekend coming against St. Joseph’s.
Their first Big Ten series win of the season came last weekend at home against Indiana, and they hope to continue with the recent success they have seen in front of their fans.
“Bainton is our home field, and we take advantage of it when we play here,” Marcinczyk said. “We know how to play here, and it’s really fun.”