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Rutgers baseball drops series opener to Minnesota

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Team needs to win one of final two to finish .500 overall.

A stolen base by Harris was the only offensive highlight.
Bob Cancro

Rutgers Baseball (25-24, 7-15) welcomed Minnesota (36-13, 17-4) for the final regular season series of the year. Wow time flies. Rutgers season has been trending in the wrong direction, but if they can manage to win just one of the games this weekend, the Scarlet Knights will record their first winning season since 2014. It won’t be easy as the first place Golden Gophers have simply been on fire of late, and took the first game, 4-0 Thursday. Rutgers has been officially eliminated from any chance of a spot in the Big Ten baseball tournament.

Thursday: Minnesota 4, Rutgers 0

Starter John O’Reilly held the Golden Gophers scoreless the first time through the batting order but surrendered a single run in the 3rd followed by a three spot in the fourth. The troublesome fourth was particularly frustrating because there were two outs with the bases empty. A double, wild pitch, single, single, double and all of a sudden Minnesota held a 4-0 lead.

O’Reilly would only face trouble one other time in the game when he departed with two outs in the eighth. Tevin Murray came on to record a strikeout and keep Rutgers close. Rutgers got two on in the bottom half but was unable to score. Nick Matera grounded into a double play to end the game.

Decisive Stat: Rutgers managed just four singles on the day (two by Milo Freeman), while Minnesota tallied 11, including three doubles. Minnesota had four consecutive base knocks during their 4th inning rally.

Notable: Jawuan Harris is now just three stolen bases shy of tying the school record held by Doug Alongi. O’Reilly’s final line was 7.2 IP, four earned runs, 11 hits, one walk, three strikeouts.

Opponent Notables: Starting pitcher Reggie Meyer went eight shutout frames with five strikeouts and one walk. The final inning was handled by Max Meyer (no relation, though Reggie did have an older brother Ben who pitched for the Gophers). Four players had two hits including leftfielder Ben Mezzenga who added two RBI.

Up Next

Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1 pm. Saturday’s regular season finale will be at noon.