Offense propels Rutgers to win over Iona
The Rutgers baseball team took care of business at home Wednesday afternoon defeating Iona (1-8) by a score of 13-8.
Senior Chris Suseck, junior Gaby Rosa and freshman Juwuan Harris lead the way for the Scarlet Knights (5-6), all having multi-hit games.
Harris had the biggest hit of the game, a two-run shot in the seventh inning driving home sophomore Milo Freeman.
“It felt great,” Harris said referring to his first career homerun. “First career home run, it felt great.”
The Knights got things rolling in the second inning with junior Gaby Rosa’s double to right center. Freshman left fielder Luke Bowerbank drove him in with a single down the right side to give Rutgers a 1-0 early lead.
Rutgers would tack on another 4 runs in the third, thanks to Suseck starting the inning off with a triple to left center. Freshman Nick Matera then doubled down the left field line driving in Suseck and senior Tom Marcinczyk. Freshman Carmen Sclafani then doubled down the left field line, driving in Matera.
After Iona pulled pitcher Andrew Purcillo, Rosa doubled to right center plating Scalfani. The Knights led after three, 5-0, off of four hits and 4 runs in the third.
What seemed to be an easy win for the Knights, turned into a competitive duel due to reliever Serafino Brito filling in for starter Dante Scafidi, allowing 4 earned runs in the top half of the fifth to let the Gaels slide back into a game only down a run.
Scafidi pitched a total of three innings, allowing only two hits, and no runs, but head coach Joe Litterio didn’t like the stressful feeling he was getting while Scafidi was on the mound, and said it also had to with a long week coming up.
“It was stressful innings in my book,” Litterio said. “They weren’t quick and clean, they were a little stressful. We got a long week coming up on the road. We had a full (bullpen) so there was no reason to stretch a guy out in that situation.”
Rutgers would add an insurance run in the fifth to make the score 6-4 after senior infielder John Jennings scored on a fielding error.
Iona would score two runs in the top half of the sixth inning to make the score an even six, and put the Knights in a closer game then they were in since the first inning.
Rutgers took the lead in the bottom half of the sixth, and Knights prevailed with a 13-8 win thanks to a monster seventh inning scoring 6 runs.
Although the Knights scored 13 runs in a game, the most they have scored in a game in the 2016 campaign, Litterio is not fully pleased with the way his team played.
“We gotta clean up a lot of things,” Literrio said. “Obviously the pitching, the defense I wasn’t too happy with, and our base running I thought ran us out of some innings. And even hitting, we had some guys at third base with less then two outs, and we pop up and strike out and whatever else we did. We can't do that, we gotta put the ball in play and get the runner in.”
A big part of why Rutgers won the game is due to Rosa, who doubled twice and knocked in a run.
In the last four games Rosa has compiled a total of six hits, raising his batting average to .275, tied for fourth on the team.
Rosa credits working on hitting the ball the opposite way in batting practice, and said he wasn’t trying to do too much in the victory Wednesday.
“To be honest I wasn’t trying to do too much,” Rosa said. “ I worked in (batting practice) trying to hit the ball the other way, so the pitchers threw me two fast balls away and I just tried to not do too much and go the other way.”
With the Knights winning their last two games, their record is 5-6, only one game under the .500 mark after starting off 0-3.
With the next 11 games being on the road, three of them against FAU (11-1), Litterio is hoping his pitchers can learn from their mistakes and fix the issues that’s costing them to give up so many runs.
“It's very concerning,” Litterio said. “Four walks, they had a lot of base runners. They hit, and you know we had some young guys in there that gotta learn that you can’t just throw the ball right over the plate, we gotta hit our spots. I think its something that we'll learn from here on.”
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