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Rutgers Baseball swept by Maryland, season on brink

Almost mathematically eliminated from postseason play.

Coach Litterio was left looking for answers after the fateful set.
Bob Cancro

Rutgers baseball completed a do or die series at Maryland this weekend. The Terrapins were too much in every contest and the Scarlet Knights’s Big Ten postseason hopes have all but been eliminated with the three losses.

Friday: Maryland 5, Rutgers 2

John O’Reilly (5-3) was outdueled by Hunter Parsons (5-2), as RU did not record an extra base hit.

Saturday: Maryland 17, Rutgers 2

An eleven run third inning put this game out of reach in a laugher.

Sunday: Maryland 8, Rutgers 6

Rutgers didn’t have enough firepower to overcome a five-run Terp third.

Let’s check into the keys to the series:

  1. Play good defense. Maryland actually made more errors in the series (5-3) than Rutgers did. Rutgers had a clean sheet in the first game in fact. Both teams made an error in the third inning of Game 2, but Rutgers’s miscue proved way more costly. Unfortunately a two-out error by pitcher Eric Reardon allowed the inning to continue and what was a 7-1 game became 13-1 after six more runs came around to score. Rutgers only made one error in the third game that didn’t result in any earned runs, while Maryland almost blew the game with shotty defense leading to half of the RU runs being unearned.
  2. Avoid big rallies. This was a killer and defined the series. The first game was broken open by three straight Terrapin hits (including two doubles), but Rutgers gave themselves a chance by limiting the damage. The second game, Maryland capitalized with an eleven run third inning off Harry Rutkowski and Eric Reardon. After Rutkowski retired the leadoff man, a double, single, homer, single, single allowed Maryland to open up a 5-1 advantage. After that, the aforementioned error kept the rally going to lock the game up early. The series finale was turned on a two-out Maryland rally that turned a 1-1 tie into a 6-1 hole for the Scarlet Knights they could never dig out of. Maryland deserves credit for not allowing Rutgers to score more than two runs in any single inning of the series.
  3. Scratch out runs. Rutgers was able to do this in the finale, but it was too little, too late. Two runs in each of the first two games simply won’t get it done in a metal bat era. Rutgers avoided big rallies in the first game, but Maryland was simply better at scratching out runs scoring in four of their eight turns at bat. In the second game, even independent of the monster 3rd, Maryland scored in five of the eight innings they batted. In the finale, each team scored in four frames, but Maryland’s five spot in the 3rd proved the difference as both teams had 11 hits. Maryland controlled Rutgers’s running game by only allowing one stolen bag all series.

Notable: Dan DiGeorgio had two doubles in the second game and Rutgers only stolen base of the series. Jawuan Harris homered in the finale. Tevin Murray was the only Rutgers hurler to throw at least an inning in the series and not allow an earned run.

Rutgers is now 24-23 on the season, 12th in the Big Ten standings at 7-14. The Terrapins are 8th at 9-11. The season began with a lot of promise, but after struggling so mightily in league play overall, the team will likely view the campaign as a disappointment barring a miracle.

Next up

RU is in-state again hosting Monmouth Tuesday at 1pm, the final independent game of the year.

Big Ten play concludes against Minnesota with a three game set beginning Friday, 3 pm at Bainton Field. Rutgers needs to sweep the 1st place Golden Gophers to have any shot at the Big Ten tournament and have a ton of help.