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Monmouth avenges lopsided loss, flies past Rutgers

<p>Junior Mike Carter was one of the lone bright spots for Rutgers, going 3-for-4 as the designated hitter, hitting two doubles while driving in one run in the Knights’ 12-2 loss against Monmouth in West Long Branch Thursday.</p>

Junior Mike Carter was one of the lone bright spots for Rutgers, going 3-for-4 as the designated hitter, hitting two doubles while driving in one run in the Knights’ 12-2 loss against Monmouth in West Long Branch Thursday.

After a dominating performance on Tuesday which saw the Rutgers baseball team score 20 runs, it returned to the field Wednesday for another game against Monmouth. 

But this time, it was on the road, and the result was much different.

The Scarlet Knights (9-15) were beaten in a lopsided contest, 12-2, and were unable to capitalize on their strong performance in their previous victory.

The Knights have yet to win consecutive games since the first week of March, and it seemed like they were in good position to do so following a dominating win against the same team it defeated by 16 runs Tuesday.

“They did a nice job of keeping us off balance and keeping us off base today,” said head coach Joe Litterio. “We struggled a little bit with our command and they got some big hits to break it open for them.”

Freshman pitcher Dante Scafidi (2-1) made his third start of the season, and started off well by striking out the side in the first inning, but ran into trouble in the third inning.

The Knights found themselves in an early hole, as Monmouth (12-12) poured in 5 runs in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead.

Scafidi, a Washington Township, New Jersey native, retired 2 of the first 3 batters in the frame, but the Hawks then staged a two-out rally with four walks and two hits that scored them 5 runs.

Freshman Kevin Romero replaced Scafidi in a bases loaded jam in the inning, and hit Monmouth’s Grant Lamberton with a pitch. He got out of the inning, but not before the Hawks took a 6-0 lead.

For the day, Scafidi finished with 2 2/3 innings pitched, allowing 6 earned runs while walking six and taking the loss.

“He ran into some trouble locating the strike zone in that inning, and they took advantage of the free bases by getting some hits,” Litterio said. “The third inning was big for them, and we weren’t really to get anything going early on.”

It was the eighth appearance of the season for Scafidi, so Rutgers has confidence to use him out of the bullpen and starting games in many situations.

As a first-year player, these are the kinds of games that can serve as lessons for certain improvements that need to be made in future appearances.

He is confident he will be able to bounce back because he knows the team will need him to perform in upcoming games.

“I’ve just gotta put my head down and work hard and do what the coaches need me to do,” Scafidi said. “I want to go in and do well in every situation they need me for. It’s important to come in and work hard and do my job.”

After the troublesome third inning, Monmouth kept up with its offensive barrage.

It scored 3 runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, doubling its lead to 12-0 heading into the sixth inning.

The Knights then faced a large deficit and could not put together enough offense to mount a comeback.

Following a 22-hit performance on Tuesday, Rutgers finished with nine hits in the second game against the Hawks.

Monmouth only outhit the Knights by one, finishing with 10 for the game despite winning the game by as many runs.

Tyler Ksiazek (2-1) started for Monmouth and earned the win by completing seven innings and striking out five, while allowing just 1 earned run.

Junior Mike Carter was the designated hitter for Rutgers, and he had the best offensive day for the team by going 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI.

He recently returned to the lineup after missing some games with an injury to begin the season, but has immediately been reinserted into the middle of the lineup and produced.

With the Knights hosting Indiana at home this weekend for their first Big Ten series at Bainton Field of the season, Carter hopes to continue getting acclimated to playing again and producing for the team as the games get bigger.

“It’s good to be back playing again,” he said. “It was tough to miss some games, but now I’m just trying to get back and get some wins with the team, and hopefully we can do that moving forward.”

For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow @Mike_OSully2 and @TargumSports on Twitter.

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