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Rutgers Falls to Louisville, 9-3

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Gaby Rosa and the Scarlet Knights were unable to dethrone the No. 1 Cardinals in a season-ending loss.

In his second duel with Louisville, Gaby Rosa didn't yield the same success.
In his second duel with Louisville, Gaby Rosa didn't yield the same success.
Rutgers Athletic

Last time out, things were different.

What was then the No. 7 team in the country had no answer for a rookie on the mound and an 11-hit arsenal at the plate. Freshman righthander Gaby Rosa cruised through eight innings, limiting opposing batters to just three hits.

And just like that, the Rutgers baseball team had stunned Louisville, 11-2.

Rutgers head coach Joe Litterio gave the Co-AAC Rookie of the Year the ball one last time Saturday afternoon with the team's season on the line with hopes that the kid could muster up a similar performance and give the Scarlet Knights a fighting chance against the conference's Goliath.

But there was no déjà vu.

The Cardinals pounded out 13 hits -- 9 of which were off Rosa -- and the Knights couldn't match the offensive firepower, ending their AAC Championship run and, ultimately, their 2014 season with a 9-3 loss.

Unlike his first start against Louisville where he dominated, Rosa ran into immediate trouble to open the game in the first inning. Louisville jumped out of the gates and laced three consecutive singles into the outfield, followed by a sacrifice bunt and triple to hold an assertive 3-0 lead.

Rutgers held its own in the bottom half and appeared ready to match what the Cardinals exhibited with the bats by muscling two runs across the plate courtesy of a two-run single by junior left fielder Vinny Zarillo, who continued his hot streak by going 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead the Knights.

But, despite the sign of fight by Rutgers, Louisville came right back.

The Cardinals tagged Rosa again for two runs in the second inning to extend the margin to 5-2, and continued to show no mercy for the freshman. With runners on second and third and one out, Rosa's day came to an end on a two-run single down the right field line by Nick Solak to make it 7-2.

Louisville added some cushion to its lead by grabbing two more runs in the sixth off Max Herrmann to dig the hole that much deeper for the Knights. The freshman lefthander was one of four Rutgers pitchers used in relief after Rosa.

The offense managed one last run in the eighth after the Cardinals finally pulled their starter, Anthony Kidston. The sophomore righthander improved to 7-0 on the year after striking out seven and yielding just four hits in his seven innings of work.

Aside from Zarillo and his three hits, the remaining 11 players who registered at least one at-bat combined to go 3-for-29 in the batter's box.

Even with a better start by Rosa, that makes any game hard to win.

And when it's against the top dog of the conference in a team that mashes like Louisville, hard turns into near-impossible.

Highlights of the game can be found here.