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Harris and Folinusz lead Rutgers baseball over Lafayette

Team wins without scoring 28 runs, three baggers prove to be the difference.

Folinusz has been hot in RBI situations of late.
(Ben Solomon/Rutgers Athletics)

Lafayette came to Bainton Field Wednesday looking for revenge after being embarrassed by the Scarlet Knights last season. In that game, Rutgers scored a program record 28 runs. This one was much more closely contested.

Wednesday: Rutgers 4, Lafayette 2

In a continued effort to get him back on track, Karl Blum got the start. After successfully pitching out of trouble in the 1st, Karl was able to complete four scoreless innings (2 hits allowed, 4 Ks), his best effort of the season. Rutgers did not record their first baserunner until the bottom of the frame. The mini-rally featured back-to-back singles from Mike Nyisztor and Nick Matera followed by a triple from Chris Folinusz to score both runners.

Handed a 2-0 lead, Tommy Genuario entered the game with a quick top of the 5th. The next solid opportunity for either club came in the bottom of the 6th. Mike Nysiztor and Nick Matera each hit one-out singles to set up Folinusz with runners on yet again. Chris couldn’t deliver like he did earlier, but the big man was able to show some wheels for the second time in the game, beating a double play relay attempt. It was a huge hustle play because the next batter, Jawuan Harris, unloaded a pitch to the warning track. Despite a valiant effort by the outfielders to track it down, Jawuan cruised into 3rd with a stand up triple, bringing in both runners for a 4-0 lead in the process.

Coach Joe Litterio called on the team’s ERA leader Collin Kiernan in the 7th. A hit by pitch, double to right, and a walk put Kiernan in a bases loaded jam with the tying run at the plate. Kiernan then walked in a run to make it 4-1 with no outs and tying run now at 1st. A wild pitch brought in the 2nd run while both other runners moved up. A strikeout recorded the first out of the inning, but Litterio still elected to replace Kiernan with closer Serafino Brito to try to get out of the jam. The unconventional move of bringing in the closer so early in the game resulted in two quick strikeouts to end the threat and three up, three down in the 8th. A fine play by Kevin Welsh contributed.

Ryan Wares entered a still 4-2 game in the 9th looking to close it out and earn his first career collegiate save. He retired the side allowing Rutgers to escape with the victory, their 18th of the campaign.

Decisive stat: Double-Triples. As mentioned in the mid-season review, Rutgers top two keys to the second half are to get Harris going and see some power. With two two-RBI triples in the contest (including one three bagger from Harris), they delivered. It proved to be the difference in the game.

Notable: Rutgers only had the six aforementioned hits, luckily they were bunched together in the two mini-rallies. On the other side, Lafayette only had four hits. Neither team made an error.

Opponent notables: John Marti had two hits, but was robbed of a third when second baseman Kevin Welsh made an awesome stop on the outfield grass and subsequent throw to get him at first. Check out the clip in the tweet below:

The Scarlet Knights are now 18-11 on the season. With one more win, they tie 2017’s full season win total (19).

Next up

Rutgers continues their Big Ten schedule at Illinois, Friday at 7 pm. Saturday’s game is at 4 pm while the series finale Sunday will be at 2 pm.

After that, RU is in-state at Monmouth next Tuesday April 17.

For those who missed it, check out the midseason review video below: