Knights offense stays scarce in loss

The Rutgers baseball team’s first four batters put together a combined two hits in 13 at bats in yesterday’s offensive struggle against Delaware.

Senior first baseman Charlie Law recorded only one hit in the cleanup spot and missed an early RBI opportunity in the first inning when he flew out to right field to end the inning with junior second baseman Nick Favatella standing on third.

“We’re having trouble doing the little things right,” Law said. “[Tuesday against Hofstra] we hit the ball well but didn’t field and pitch to our potential. Today we pitched great for the most part, and we didn’t field the way we should have. We’re not putting it all together.”

Favatella recorded one hit and reached second when the centerfielder dropped a routine flyball in the first inning. But he struck out in the eighth and finished 1-for-4 in the contest.

Leadoff hitter and freshman third baseman Matt Tietz went 0-for-3, while senior right fielder Steve Zavala hit 0-for-3 with an RBI.

The Knights offense is normally counted on to force opponents to their bullpen, but their lack of production allowed Delaware righthander Dan Gatto to go the distance and pitch a complete game.

The bottom half of the order was more productive than the Knights’ top four hitters, accounting for three of the team’s five hits.

“Other than the big hit by Favatella, the triple, and Steve [Zavala]’s hit to drive him in, we didn’t swing the bat well today, I don’t think,” said head coach Fred Hill.

The Blue Hens were Rutgers’ final nonconference opponent of the season. The Knights are 6-4 in their last 10 midweek contests, but their starting pitching in those games has been inconsistent.

By saving its best starters for weekend series against Big East opponents, the Knights pitching has suffered in games against some of its lesser opponents.

Junior righthander Slater McCue lasted only four-and-one-third innings and surrendered two runs yesterday against Delaware.

In two of his previous outings, he allowed nine earned runs in a combined three-and-one-third innings in losses to Fordham and Rider.

Freshman righthander Jon Young allowed four earned runs in a 10-9 loss Tuesday to Hofstra.

Young entered this season with only three games of relief experience in his freshman season. McCue has only eight appearances this season and has yet to win in five starts.

With yesterday’s 4-2 Delaware victory, the Blue Hens avenged a loss to the Knights on April 23 by the same score.

Both Favatella and Law had recorded two hits apiece with Law grabbing a pair of doubles and a RBI.

Young lasted six-and-two-thirds innings in his first career collegiate start.

And though Law gave the Blue Hens credit for the win, he still believes the Knights should have won.

“We knew we could have beat them,” Law said. “They have a pretty good lineup and they’re a good team, but we played them last time, and we beat them, and I thought there was no reason why we shoudn’t have beat them today.”