Rutgers plays streak breaker against Stony Brook
Two streaks came to an end on Tuesday as the Rutgers baseball team outlasted Stony Brook 6-5 in only their second home game of the season. The Scarlet Knights (6-15) ended their four-game losing streak with the win and ended the Seawolves' (11-8, 3-0) eight-game winning streak, the second longest in the nation.
Rutgers built an early 6-0 lead off the contact hitting of freshman infielder Tim Dezzi and the power hitting of freshman outfielder Victor Valderrama, as he hit a 3-run homer in the third, putting the Knights in cruise control.
True freshman left-handed pitcher Jared Bellissimo had a solid afternoon as he delivered five shutout innings and six strikeouts to earn his first win at Rutgers.
Despite the hot start, Stony Brook wouldn’t go down without a fight. In the seventh inning, true freshman right-handed pitcher Garrett French allowed 4 runs as the Seawolves feasted up four crucial hits which cut the Knights' lead to 2 runs.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Stony Brook threatened to take the lead after their own Michael Russell was able to reach first base off a muffed throw from true freshman infielder Chris Brito, allowing teammate Johnny Decker to score for to make the score 6-5 with Sean Buckhout on third for the game-tying run.
But the Seawolves' momentum was cut short, as senior right-handed pitcher Serafino Brito stuck out Stony Brook's Dylan Resk to earn the win and remains undefeated at Bainton Field.
"We are happy to be home and it was great to pick up this win headed into Big Ten play," said head coach Joe Litterio. "Another tight ballgame. We've been in a bunch of pressure situations lately, which have been great learning experiences. We know it will be like that during the conference season. Hopefully we can build from this win and take the momentum to the weekend."
Rutgers improves to 4-4 in 1-run contests. While the overall record doesn’t look pretty, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
The Knights will have their hands full this weekend as they get set to take on Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State in a three-game series beginning on Friday at 2 p.m.
On top of that, Rutgers' long-awaited home game against Wagner is set for April 3 after the previously scheduled game was postponed due to snow.
After being so used to playing on the road for a good portion of this season, the Knights will have four games to play in front of their home crowd, and the best part is, they won’t have to travel far.
For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.