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Rutgers travels to New Orleans for Allstate Sugar Bowl Baseball Classic

After being outscored 35-7 and losing all three games to Miami, the Rutgers baseball team is already making changes.

An anonymous source told The Daily Targum that true freshman right-handed pitcher Garrett French will replace senior right-handed pitcher Serafino Brito in the starting rotation. French will start Sunday, while sophomore left-handed pitcher Harry Rutkowski will move up one day to Friday, and junior left-handed pitcher Tevin Murray will move up from Sunday to Saturday.

Brito was rocked on Friday night, yielding 7 earned runs on seven hits through two innings. Just like last year when he was pulled following a rocky start at Miami, the same happened this season.

Whether Brito will come back into the rotation remains to be seen. After his start in Miami last year, he did not make another start until Minnesota came to Piscataway for the last series of last season.

French is from Red Bank, New Jersey and attended Middletown North High School. In addition to pitching two games this past weekend, he made an appearance at third base during Friday night’s game and had two at-bats, going hitless and striking out once. 

He pitched Saturday and Sunday, throwing 1.2 innings combined, yielding 0 runs, walking two and striking out three.

The Scarlet Knights (0-3) will take on Butler on Friday in New Orleans, Louisiana in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Baseball Classic at Maestri Field. The Bulldogs (2-1) are coming into this one after their 3-game series with Rider in Lexington, South Carolina last weekend.  

Butler comes in led by left-handed hitter and outfielder Kyle Smith, who earned Big East Player of the Week honors last week, going 6-for-11 with a double, triple and 2 home runs over three games against the Broncos last weekend.  

On Saturday, Rutgers will take on tournament host New Orleans. The Privateers (2-1) hosted Michigan State last weekend, winning the final 2 games of the 3-game series. The Knights will again have their hands full with another left-handed-hitting outfielder, New Orleans' Pearce Howard.

Howard went 6-for-10 at the plate with a home run and four RBIs last weekend. His performance earned him the Southland Hitter of the Week Honors accolade. 

Rutgers will have left-handed pitchers to counter each of the Privateers' left-handed hitters. It will be interesting to see who wins these matchups within the game.

If the Knights are still winless heading into Sunday, they will have their best opportunity yet to pick up a win. They will face Chicago State, a team that was swept last weekend at Pacific University in California, being outscored 20-6 over the three-game series. The Cougars had a  13-41 record last season.  

Pitching has been an issue for the Rutgers, but it only amassed 7 runs over three games last weekend. If the pitching can turn a corner, the offense will have to do the same, as well, if this team has its sight set on making some noise in conference play.

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

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