Rutgers drops rubber game in weekend series at Old Dominion
What looked to be a great weekend at first turned into a disappointing series as the Rutgers baseball team dropped two out of three games against Old Dominion over the weekend.
The Scarlet Knights (3-7) took the first game on Friday and were in great position to come back home with a series win — possibly even a sweep. But Rutgers could not hang on during the last two games and have yet to win a series this season.
Head coach Joe Litterio thought his players played great in the first game but was disappointed with the end result.
“Yeah, of course,” he said when asked if the series loss stung a little worse considering his team won the first game. “When you’re able to get Friday night, you're thinking we got two more games so let's win the series. So it's very disappointing after winning Friday night in a good game.”
Friday’s starting pitcher, junior right-handed pitcher John O’Reilly (1-2) went six and two-thirds innings, giving up 4 runs on 10 hits while striking out two and walking one in the 98-pitch effort.
Despite netting his first win on the season, O’Reilly was hoping his win would jumpstart his team for the weekend.
“It’s definitely nice,” he said. “After Friday's game, we were confident for the rest of the weekend. We played hard on Friday, we played well and we thought that was going to carry over, clearly, it didn't but it was a strong opening game for us and hopefully we can carry that into Wednesday's game.”
The Knights will be on the road once again this week as they head to New Rochelle, New York on Wednesday to face Iona for one game. Then it’s back down south to take on North Florida over the weekend.
The team that takes the field for those games may be slightly different than the ones that have recently figured in the starting lineup, as Litterio hinted at some possible changes.
“We are gonna tinker a little bit,” he said. “We got to work something out with the pitching staff. Obviously, we are not happy with the way we are coming in out of the pen. We are not able to shut the door down and that is something we are going to have to figure out.”
In Saturday’s 6-2 loss, sophomore right-handed pitcher Serafino Brito pitched six and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs. He struck out four batters but also walked four — a rarity for the right-hander known for his control as he only walked 10 all of last season.
Senior Tom Marcinczyk belted a two-run homer in the fifth inning, a day after hitting a two-run shot in an 8-5 win, to give Rutgers a brief 2-1 lead. That bumped his season total to three and 15 for his career.
His teammate and fellow-senior first baseman Mike Carter also performed well over the weekend, going 6-for-13 with three runs batted in (RBI) and two runs scored. He leads the team with a .400 average.
One of two captains on the team, Carter has urged his teammates to keep the series in the back of their minds but to not dwell on the past.
“Tuesday we just gotta get back to the fundamental side of things and doing all of the small things right,” he said. “Just getting ready to play again, you can't dwell on these games, you just got to keep them in the back of your head and get ready for next week.”
It is still early in the season and the team's ultimate goal is still within reach, but Rutgers cannot afford to become complacent and have too many other series like the one it just had.
“As a team, we want to win the Big Ten tournament and that's about it,” Carter said. “I'll do whatever I got to do to help out the team and get us there.”
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