Rutgers falls in midweek contest to in-state foe Rider
With a tough eight-game road trip to Florida behind them, the Rutgers baseball team came back home looking for some home field advantage at Bainton Field Tuesday afternoon.
It got more of the same.
The Scarlet Knights (6-14) lost for the fifth consecutive game as they dropped a midweek game to Rider University by a score of 7-2. Even after opening up the scoring and plating a run in the first inning — and looking poised to break out of this offensive slump they’ve been in — Rutgers’ offense fell flat.
Aside from the top two hitters in the lineup, sophomore centerfielder Jawaun Harris and senior first baseman Mike Carter — who each finished the game with two hits apiece with Harris reaching base four times and Carter three — the offense was rendered almost completely ineffective.
Senior right fielder Tom Marcinczyk hit a double to plate Carter in the first for his only hit of the day while sophomore second baseman Carmen Sclafani and freshman shortstop Kevin Welsh each recorded a hit to round out the offense on the day. Junior catcher Chris Folinusz, who came in to pinch hit for sophomore catcher Nick Matera in the seventh inning, did record a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 6-2.
It didn’t do much, though, as the game was all but over at that point. The Broncos (7-10) came back the next half inning and erased that run by scoring one of their own to make it 7-2, which would hold for the rest of the game.
Senior right hander Christian Campbell (2-1) suffered his first loss on the season by going five and two-thirds innings, giving up 4 runs on 11 hits while striking out three and walking one.
Coming in for relief, senior left hander Ryan Fleming gave up two runs on three hits in one and one-thirds innings. Sophomore righty Kevin Romero came on for the eighth and surrendered a run on two hits in his inning of work while freshman right hander Joe Neglia pitched a clean ninth, picking up a strikeout.
The Knights did work seven walks on the day — five of which induced by starter John Yocum (1-2), whose final line also included 6 ⅓ innings of two run ball — but went hitless in two and two-thirds innings against the Rider bullpen.
For a team that hasn’t pitched all too great to start the season, the Rutgers offense cannot afford to put up many more games like this, especially against lower level teams.
Harris, Carter and Welsh all stole a base with Carter stealing two and Harris swiping three, giving him 13 on the year to lead the squad. Although he was caught trying to steal his fourth base on the day — the fifth time he’s been caught this season — Harris now has 50 steals for his career which ties him with former Major League Baseball player David DeJesus for 10th of all time in Rutgers history.
The Knights will have a couple days of practice to try and right the ship before heading on the road once again for a weekend series against USC Upstate in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
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