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Rutgers starts season with 3 losses in Miami

The new era for the Rutgers baseball team got off to a rocky start last weekend. The Scarlet Knights (0-3) were outscored 35-7 after being swept by Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

After last year in the opening series against the Hurricanes (3-0), senior right-handed pitcher Serafino Brito was moved to the closer's role. He was given another opportunity to show what he had to open the season on Friday night at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.

Brito only lasted two innings, facing 14 batters in a game that Rutgers went on to lose 19-3. He yielded seven hits, 7 earned runs, one walk and did not strike out a single batter. Brito was often behind in the pitch counts and was forced to pitch some down the heart of the plate, allowing Miami hitters to tee off.

The Knights found themselves down 12-0 by the time they came to bat in the fourth inning on Friday evening. Hurricanes starter Evan McKendry retired the first 10 batters he faced. It was then that they got on the board on an RBI single from freshman infielder Chris Brito, a Perth Amboy, New Jersey native, was a three-time county all-star in high school.

Chris Brito was one of the bright spots for Rutgers this weekend, going 4-11 at the plate, including a triple while driving in 2 runs.

The Knights came out with a vengeance on Saturday, striking first on an RBI single at the top of the second inning from redshirt freshman infielder Tim Dezzi, a St. John’s transfer who was the designated hitter in that game. That was the lone run Rutgers would get that day, though.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Harry Rutkowski was cruising through three innings, but then yielded a 2-run home run to Miami first baseman Alex Toral in the bottom of the fourth inning, and the Hurricanes never looked back. 

Rutkowski faced three batters in the fifth inning, and did not record an out. Junior left-handed pitcher Eric Reardon then came in for two batters and did not record an out. Freshman right-handed pitcher Garrett French then entered the game and recorded every out in the inning, but by then, the game was 7-1 in favor of Miami.

On Sunday, junior left-handed pitcher Tevin Murray made his first career start, and showed some promise. He struck out seven batters in 4.2 innings en route to allowing 3 runs (2 earned), but the Hurricanes' bats were just too much for the Knights' pitching staff. This was the case all weekend, as Rutgers dropped the series finale, on Sunday, 9-3.

It was 4-0, Miami before the Knights scored their first run of the day on an RBI single from freshman catcher Peter Serruto. A Short Hills, New Jersey native, Serruto was a 22nd round pick by the Cincinnati Reds in the MLB Draft last year. He went 3 of 6 this weekend, appearing in all three games and started behind the plate on Sunday.

Rutgers will attempt to rebound in New Orleans this weekend, where they will take on Butler on Friday, New Orleans on Saturday and round out the weekend with Chicago State on Sunday.

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

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