Rutgers slips up against stumbling Villanova side
After getting swept at home by No. 25 Maryland, the Rutgers baseball team was hoping to right the ship against a Villanova team that had only won three of its first 19 games. That number now stands at four.
The Scarlet Knights (10-18, 0-3) again could not garner enough offense to give themselves a chance to win as their losing streak has now reached four games — not exactly the way they wanted heading into their weekend series against Minnesota, who currently sits atop the standings in the Big Ten.
On Wednesday, Rutgers amassed seven hits and only crossed home plate twice as it lost to the Wildcats (4-16) by a score of 3-2. Highlighting the offensive production on the day was senior first baseman Mike Carter and sophomore left fielder Mike Martinez.
Carter went 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base to add to his conference lead in hits and now has 42 hits on the season. The senior first baseman also has now reached base safely in 27-of-28 games. Martinez perhaps had the biggest day for either team as he went 3-for-4 with an RBI double, a run scored and two steals. However, he was caught trying to steal third in the sixth inning, thwarting any threat the Knights had in play.
Senior right hander Christian Campbell started the game and after giving up a run in the first, he found his groove. Rutgers scored in the next half inning to pull even at one, and after that it became a pitchers duel.
The Knights would break through first, scoring again in the top of the sixth off of Martinez’s double to make it 2-1. Villanova stormed right back in the bottom half of the inning. After a leadoff single, Campbell let up another single that was misplayed by sophomore centerfielder Jawuan Harris allowing the runner on first to score to tie the game.
After another single put runners on first and third, former Rutgers catcher Doug deMarrais laid down a sacrifice bunt to burn his old team and give his new one a 3-2 lead, which proved to be the difference in the game.
After inducing a groundout to the next batter, Campbell’s day was done. He finished the day going five and two-thirds innings, giving up 3 runs — 2 of them earned — on seven hits while striking out five and walking none. Seniors Ryan Fleming and Max Herrmann came in for relief and threw two and one-thirds innings of hitless baseball.
With three more errors on the day, the Knights now have 50 on the season in just 28 games, averaging almost two per game.
Rutgers’ longest losing streak on the season is five, but going into this game it was hoping for a better result, especially against a team that had three wins coming into the day. Along with the losing streak, the Knights’ offensive woes continue as well — even against a pitching staff that sported a 7.30 ERA before the game. Rutgers has scored just 5 runs during this stretch and has been outscored 203 to 132 for the entire season.
The Knights will look to bounce back against the Gophers (18-8, 6-0) in Minnesota over the weekend.
For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.