Rutgers beats Lafayette on road
Fresh off a victory over Iowa, the Rutgers baseball team traveled to Easton, Pennsylvania to take on Lafayette, a team with a record slightly better than the Scarlet Knights (10-19, 2-4).
But, Rutgers was more than ready for the challenge to keep building up its momentum to finish the season strong and gain confidence for the Big Ten Tournament.
The Knights are on pace to do just that as they bulldozed through their opponent for the second game in a row.
Rutgers drew first blood in yesterday's contest off the bat of senior catcher Tyler McNamara, as he sent the first pitch of the second inning out of Kamine Stadium for a solo home run to make it 1-0.
From there, the Knights were piling it on. Following McNamara’s blast, senior outfielder Luke Bowerbank started a hitting sequence with a single on a 0-2 count, followed by a single from true freshman outfielder Victor Valderrama and a bunt from junior outfielder Kevin Blum loaded the bases with no outs.
True freshman infielder David Soto doubled Rutgers' lead with a groundout that allowed Bowerbank to tack on the second run of the day for the Knights.
While Rutgers got off to a strong start, it could’ve put the game away early as it had the bases loaded with two outs in the second. Despite the opportunity, redshirt freshman infielder Tim Dezzi struck out on a full count pitch keeping the bases loaded as the Wildcats' (11-19, 6-4) Mark Anderson was able to get out of a jam.
The pressure seemed too much for Anderson, as he was taken out of the game after just two innings. His reliever David Giusti also didn’t last long, as he stayed in for the third inning before being taken out as well.
Lafayette took control of the game in the fourth inning, as the Wildcats' Spencer Rouse got to first base off a fielder’s choice and allowed true freshman left-handed pitcher Jared Bellissimo to get Lafayette's Richard Villa out at third.
Trey Durrah was able to put the Wildcats on the board. The next batter, Lafayette's Jake Sniegocki, tied the game with a RBI single to bring the Wildcats' Dan Leckie home. Rouse wanted to join his teammates and cross home plate as well, but got antsy and was caught stealing to end the fourth inning to keep the score a 2-2 draw after four innings.
The next inning, Lafayette took the lead as head coach Joe Litterio took Bellissimo out of the game to bring in junior right-handed pitcher Steven Acosta with two outs. Villa won the battle as he mustered a single off of Acosta to bring home the Wildcats' Michael Landry to put the Wildcats in front 3-2.
Fortunately for the Knights, this would be the last run Lafayette would score all afternoon.
Rutgers had a dominant seventh inning performance in which it scored 6 runs off of four hits.
The scoring streak started with a double from junior infielder Kevin Welsh in which sophomore infielder Mike Nyisztor was able to run all the way from first to home plate to tie the score at three.
Dezzi added on to the score with a RBI single to take the lead. The inning continued as Bowerbank scored another run as he was walked by the Wildcats' Kyle Subers.
On the next at-bat, Valderrama reached first base off an error from Lafayette's Zach Savage. Blum notched a 2-run single to put the Knights up 8-3 to conclude a stellar seventh inning team performance.
Rutgers' pitching was solid after the fifth inning, as Acosta and true freshmen right-handed pitchers Garrett French and Parker Scott gave up just two hits combined from the sixth to eighth innings before senior right-handed pitcher Serafino Brito closed the game in the ninth to cap off a 9-3 victory.
The Knights notched 10 hits off of the Wildcats, which was more than enough to snatch their 10th win of the season.
Rutgers is on a roll as it returns to the Banks to face Michigan State this weekend. The Spartans (8-22, 0-5) come in with an under .500 record.
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