July 18, 2019 | 85° F

Rutgers takes on Monmouth in New Jersey showdown

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

Sophomore outfielder Jawuan Harris hit three home runs in one game at USC Upstate and leads the team with seven on the season.

Riding a three-game sweep at the hands of USC Upstate, the Rutgers baseball team is looking to keep its winning streak alive as it heads to West Long Branch to take on Monmouth.

In a battle of two New Jersey teams, the Scarlet Knights (9-14) will take the Garden State Parkway to play the first of a two-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Tuesday and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN3. The second game will be played at Bainton Field on Wednesday.

During its three-game winning streak — a sweep of a weekend series at USC Upstate — Rutgers outscored the Spartans by a collective margin of 26-11.

Before that, the Knights had only scored 13 runs over a five-game stretch in which they went 0-5. It’s becoming clear where their strong suit is and what they need to do to win games. Their .265 team batting average ranks in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten, but their 6.91 earned run average is the second-worst to Illinois’ 7.23.

Leading the attack is senior first baseman Mike Carter who leads the team in almost every offensive category. His .402 batting average ranks him tied for 54th in the country while his 37 hits have him tied for 32nd.

Teammate Jawuan Harris is also enjoying himself at the plate as his seven home runs leads the team after hitting three in one game — the first Knight to do that since 2002. His seven long balls also rank him tied for 28th nationally. Harris has moved into top-10 all-time in Rutgers history in stolen bases as just a sophomore.

Senior Christian Campbell (2-1, 3.97 ERA) will get the ball to start Tuesday’s affair after not getting the call over the weekend. Wednesday’s starter is yet to be determined.

This will be Rutgers’ final tuneup before going into conference play. The Knights will host Maryland for a three-game weekend series to kick off their conference slate. Rutgers is one of just three teams in the Big Ten that hasn’t played a conference game yet.

The team looks to improve on its 9-15 conference record it compiled last year when they finished in 11th place out of 13 teams and went 27-28 — missing the Big Ten Tournament, as only the top eight teams advance.

With the Big Ten not having the reputation in baseball it has in sports like wrestling, if the Knights continue to play teams like they did over the weekend, they should have no problem getting there this year.

For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Robert Sanchez

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