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Rutgers Baseball Rubber Match with Nebraska Sunday

Big first inning dooms team Saturday against Huskers.

Bob Cancro

Rutgers baseball resumed Big Ten action Friday with a win against Nebraska. The series continued Saturday at Bainton Field and got out of hand early on. Nebraska cruised to an easy victory that evened the critical three game set.

Friday: Rutgers 4, Nebraska 2

John O’Reilly earns 5th win with help from defense, clutch hitting, and Brito.

Saturday: Nebraska 12, Rutgers 4.

Rutgers baseball had another one of those first innings Saturday allowing 5 runs, all with two out. Starter Harry Rutkowski was let down by a Kevin Welsh error and did not even finish the inning.

Rutgers got one back in the bottom half as Carmen Sclafani singled in Jawuan Harris, but Nick Matera was thrown out trying to score a second run. Nebraska poured it on from there with one more in the second inning to re-establish a five run advantage then two in the third including a Mojo Hagge homer to make it 8-1. Another run in the 4th and the game stood at 9-1 with RU needing a rally of Illinois proportions from the week before.

In the bottom of the 5th Rutgers had a chance to get a chunk back but settled for two runs. Mike Nyisztor doubled in two runs with one out as Welsh and Luke Bowerbank came around to score. Harris and Matera whiffed to end the inning with Rutgers still down 9-3.

Nebraska added single runs in the 6th, 7th, and 9th to lead 12-3. Rutgers added a run in the 9th on a Mike Nyisztor RBI single (his 3rd RBI of the game) for the 12-4 final. Both teams badly need the series finale Sunday to improve their Big Ten tournament chances.

Decisive stat: Seven. Nebraska scored in seven of the nine innings. When no pitchers can put up zeroes it’s hard to win. Rutgers used five pitchers and only one didn’t allow a run. Eric Reardon pitched a scoreless one-third of an inning.

Notable: Tevin Murray pitched three innings, allowing only one earned run but perhaps more importantly only walked two. Kyle Gerace pitched 3.2 innings. Sclafani and Nyisztor were the only RU players with multiple hit games.

Opponent notables: Mojo Hagge did not start but had the pinch hit homer. Scott Screiber was hitless but scored a run. DH Jesse Wilkening had four hits. Cather Gunner Hellstrom went 5-6 with a run and two RBI. Zac Repinski played second base and went 3-5 with three runs scored and two RBI. Starting pitcher Matt Waldron threw six innings to get the win and twin brother Mike Waldron went the final three.

Next up

Rutgers and Nebraska conclude the set Sunday at noon. Tune in to 88.7 or BTN if you aren’t already at Bainton Field!

After that, RU is in-state again at Rider next Tuesday April 24.