Rutgers secures win over Miami in finale
Knights go 1-2 in Florida weekend
The Rutgers baseball team avoided the sweep on Sunday, stealing the last game of its three game set against Miami by a score of 7-5 to get its season started.
It was a comeback victory for the Scarlet Knights (1-2) after falling behind early, as the Hurricanes had a 5-run lead going into the fourth inning. It was in that fourth inning where the team exploded for all 7 of its runs.
Freshman pitcher Harry Rutkowski made his first career start for Rutgers, surrendering 5 runs (3 earned) in four innings. Rutkowski also gave up seven hits, struck out three and walked one.
Even with Rutkowski’s solid start, it was the bullpen who really shined on Sunday. Another freshman lefty, Eric Heatter, was lights out, throwing four shutout innings, punching out 8 of the 14 batters that he faced and giving up just three hits. It was then graduate student Karl Blum who came in for the save in the ninth to lock down the Knights’ first victory of the early season.
Offensively, it was senior infielder Kyle Walker and redshirt freshman infielder Dan DiGeorgio who set the pace for Rutgers, each collecting two hits and an RBI. It was DiGeorgio who led the team with four hits for the series.
Defensively, junior catcher Tyler McNamara shined behind the plate, making his first start of the year. McNamara nabbed not one, but two would-be base stealers to kill any momentum that the Hurricanes had built.
It was an all-around team effort on Sunday as the Knights salvaged the victory.
As for the first two games, it was somewhat of a different story with Rutgers, losing game one by a score of 7-1 and game two by a score of 8-5.
Senior pitcher John O’Reilly started game one and was not on his game, going just three innings and giving up 7 runs (5 earned) on five hits and three walks.
But, the bullpen did its job with sophomore Eric Reardon tossing three shutout frames. The North Brunswick native gave up just one hit, walked three batters and recorded three strikeouts in his three innings. Sophomore Tommy Genuario followed Reardon with two very impressive innings of his own, as he did not give up a hit and struck out three.
The Knights struggled offensively in game one, mustering up just 1 run on six hits.
The bats woke up somewhat in game two, grinding out 5 runs on eight hits. DiGeorgio led the team with two hits and 2 runs, was walked once and stole a base to round off a big day for him. Outfielder Jawuan Harris and catcher Nick Matera, both juniors, reached the bases three times, each tallying a hit and two walks.
Junior pitcher Serafino Brito made the start for Rutgers and struggled to find his rhythm. He went just two and two third innings, giving up 7 runs (all of them earned), on six hits and three walks.
As they did in every game this series, the bullpen stepped up to stop the bleeding. Sophomore Kyle Gerace came in for three very solid innings, giving up just 1 earned run on four hits, while striking out four. It was then junior Ryan Wares who came in for the remaining two and one third innings, and did not allow a single base runner.
For the Knights, this wasn’t exactly how they wanted to open the year, but they got some very promising performances that they will build on going forward.
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