Sclafani's 7 RBI's help Rutgers edge out Wagner
Senior infielder Carmen Sclafani had a day, and in the end, that was the difference maker, as the Rutgers baseball team defeated Wagner 11-10.
The Toms River, New Jersey native went 4 for 4 with a 3-run home run and a career-high 7 RBI's to lead the Scarlet Knights (8-17, 1-2) to their second consecutive win.
Rutgers started true freshman left-handed pitcher Jared Bellissimo for the third straight mid-week game. He lasted 2.2 innings, allowing 3 runs (all earned) on three hits, striking out zero and walking two.
The Seahawks (7-17, 3-3) led 3-0 at the top of the third inning, but that is when the Knights' bats came alive, scoring 6 runs between the third and fourth innings, with the Sclafani 3-run homer capping it off.
Wagner would then respond in a big way, scoring six in the top half of the fifth inning. True freshman right-handed pitcher Garrett French started the inning and loaded the bases with two outs before handing off to junior right-handed pitcher Steven Acosta, who allowed all three runners to score without the ball leaving the infield.
An infield single, a wild pitch and a fielding error by Sclafani knotted the score at six a piece.
Rutgers would then respond, and Sclafani would redeem himself for his error at the same time. He knocked a two out, two 2-run single to put the Knights on top 8-6, and the game would never be tied again after that.
But, the RBI party wasn’t done for Sclafani after that.
To open the bottom of the seventh, Rutgers had three straight singles to load the bases. Up stepped Sclafani.
There was nowhere to put him. It was a situation that the Seahawks could not be in. Wagner's Keaton Freire had Sclafani in a 1-2 hole, but he singled up the middle to extend Rutgers' lead to 10-7. Sophomore infielder Mike Nyisztor would then draw a bases loaded walk later in the inning, and that would prove to be the game-winning RBI.
Junior left-handed pitcher Eric Reardon entered in the bottom of the eighth inning, coming off a strong outing in game two of the Saturday doubleheader in which he pitched 4.2 scoreless innings.
Reardon walked the first batter and retired the next on a strikeout. That is when he ran into trouble. Freshman infielder Tim Dezzi muffed a throw at second base when the Knights were trying to turn a double play, and everyone ended up being safe.
The Seahawks would then add runs on a 2-run triple by Wagner's Freddy Sabido and an RBI double from the Seahawks' Will Johnson to cut Rutgers' lead to 11-10.
That would be all for Reardon, as senior right-handed pitcher Serafino Brito entered the game, and showed why he has been a staple in the closer’s role for the past two seasons.
Brito retired the final two batters in the eighth inning and only allowed one batter to reach in the ninth inning on a walk, earning his third save of the season. It marked the first time the Knights have won back-to-back games this season.
This weekend, Rutgers travels out to Iowa City, Iowa where it will take on Iowa for three games beginning Friday.
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