Rutgers Scarlet Knights Baseball were in Fort Myers, FL taking on local out of conference rival Army this past weekend. After taking the first two games, Rutgers would not be denied a sweep this time. Here’s how it went down:
Friday: Rutgers 5, Army 1
Rutgers baseball was without star centerfielder Jawuan Harris after he was suspended from the team for a violation of team rules before the Florida Spring Break trip. The offense sputtered early, but starter John O’Reilly was simply awesome, spinning seven and two-thirds innings allowing earning one run. The RU offense put up one in the fifth, one in the seventh, and added three insurance runs in the 8th after Serafino Brito preserved the lead, earning the save.
Decisive stat: 112, O’Reilly’s pitch count. That may seem like a lot of pitches, but in almost eight innings of work, is rather economical. It may have been his first win of the year, but the senior is looking like a number 1 starter right now.
Notable: Kevin Blum starting for Harris in center had a diving catch plus two hits and a walk, reaching base every time he came up out of the 9 spot in the order. Kevin Welsh and Mike Nyisztor had two hits apiece while Chris Folinusz continues to drive in runs with two more RBI in the contest. Brito whiffed all three hitters in the 9th.
Saturday: Rutgers 15, Army 7
Rutgers carried Friday’s momentum into Saturday with six runs in the 2nd, four in the 3rd, and three in the 5th. Milo Freeman continues to excel as a pinch hitter adding a triple and Carmen Sclafani came off the bench for a pinch-hit three-run homer. The team was a terror on the bathpaths as well with Luke Bowerbank, Nyisztor, Dan DiGeorgio, and Kyle Walker swiping bags. Tommy Genuario got the win with 2.1 innings out of the bullpen as Freshman Harry Rutkowski could not quite complete 5 innings (4.2).
Decisive stat: The offensive onslaught included 19 hits and took advantage of three Black Knights errors. Many players had good games, none more than Bowerbank who stuffed the stat sheet; three for five with two runs and three RBI.
Notable: Nyisztor had four hits and four RBI. Before being lifted for Sclafani, Walker was three for three with two runs scored. Tyler McNamara was two for three with three runs.
Sunday: Rutgers 11, Army 6
The Scarlet Knights came out hot looking to use their brooms, but Army fought back as Rutgers clung to a 7-6 lead in the 7th inning. Unlike a week ago, the Scarlet Knights poured it on with four runs in the bottom of the seventh. The 11-6 margin held as Brito threw two scoreless innings to secure the victory.
Decisive stat: 11-6; Not only did Rutgers win by that score, they also outhit Army 11-6. The Black Knights could only muster six hits against four different Rutgers hurlers who each completed 2+ innings of work. Rather than pitch their normal Sunday star freshman Eric Heatter, the staff elected to start struggling closer Karl Blum to work out some kinks, with mixed results. Collin Kiernan relieved him and got the win in 2.1 innings.
Notable: Rutgers 7-8-9 hitters simply wore out Army, each scoring twice (McNamara, Bowerbank, and Kevin Blum). Chris Folinusz had a rough day, 0-5 with an error that Ryan Wares had to pitch around. DiGeorgio (3 hits, 4 RBI) and Nick Matera (2 RBI) had been quiet of late but broke through in this one. Matera’s home run upped the margin from 9-6 to 11-6, effectively putting the game out of reach.
Next up: Wednesday against FIU at 3pm in Port Charlotte before a returning to Fort Myers. (I know some of you down at Yankees Spring Training can ride less than two hours for RU). Then a three game weekend set at FGCU.