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Rutgers Baseball drops opening series to Miami (FL)

Big rallies doom Knights in South Florida.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Miami vs UC Santa Barbara
The Hurricanes had too many rallies for RU to overcome.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

As has been the case for ten of the last eleven seasons, Rutgers began the season with a three game set at former Big East foe Miami. The Hurricanes received votes in the preseason top 25 poll. Check out our Scarlet Knights baseball season preview here.

Friday night: Miami (FL) 19, Rutgers 3

The Hurricanes had big innings in the 2nd (six runs against starter Serafino Brito) and 3rd (five against the ‘pen) that put them up 12-0 and the game to bed quite early. Rutgers tried to claw back with three runs, but Miami added two more in the sixth to take momentum back then an exclamation point with five more in the 7th.

Decisive stat: In his first inning of work in relief of starter Serafino Brito, redshirt sophomore Kyle Muller surrendered five runs, but only one was earned.

Notable: Shortstop David Soto produced his first career hit, run, and stolen base. First baseman Chris Brito tallied his first career hit and RBI. Other career debuts: pitcher Brian Fitzpatrick, Garrett French (3rd base), Peter Serruto (catcher), Tim Dezzi (DH), Alex Russo (right field), Victor Valderama (pinch hitter), Adam Holland (pinch hitter). Steven Acosta (West New York, NJ) made his Rutgers debut after transferring from Stony Brook with one and two-thirds innings of shutout ball.

Saturday: Miami (FL) 7, Rutgers 1

Rutgers looked to bounce back behind Harry Rutkowski and provided him a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning courtesy of a Tim Dezzi RBI single. The sophomore lefty Rutkowski started strong but tired a bit in the 4th inning and was completely out of gas in the 5th. Eric Reardon could not put out the fire, allowing a hit and a walk to the two batters he faced. Garrett French who made his season debut at third base Friday relieved Reardon to eventually halt the Miami rally, but the damage was done with the Hurricanes holding a 7-1 advantage.

Decisive stat: Six hits, only one for extra bases. Rutgers trotted out only one change to Friday’s lineup with Alex Russo in right field. Russo had one of the team’s hits and also walked. Dezzi had two hits and Chris Brito had two, including a triple.

Notable: Kyle Gerace threw three shutout innings in his season debut.

Sunday: Miami (FL) 9, Rutgers 3

Miami scratched across two runs in the third against Tevin Murray making his first career start. Rutgers got plenty of runners, but was unable to tie the game. The Scarlet Knights closed the gap to 5-3 in the top half of the 8th and slugger Carmen Sclafani hit one to the warning track that was just a few feet short of tying the game. The Hurricanes responded with a haymaker in the bottom half to effectively close the book on an opening series sweep.

Decisive stat: 11 hits. Rutgers actually outhit Miami 11-10, though the Hurricanes were able to cluster theirs a lot more effectively. This game was a lot closer than the scoreboard indicated, unlike Saturday.

Notable: Mike Nyisztor continued to hit leadoff and produced three hits. In his first career start, Peter Serruto delivered two hits and an RBI. Parker Scott and Jared Bellissimo each made their college debuts, both allowed two earned runs.

Series Takeaway(s): 1. Rutgers needs to avoid big innings from their opponents because they don’t have the offensive firepower to hit a bunch of three-run homers and come back in games. 2. RU has several pitchers who are “projects” that showed flashes this weekend and in their careers, rapid improvement is needed. 3. The Scarlet Knights will rely heavily on newcomers, especially true freshmen.

B1G League Chew: The Scarlet Knights ended the weekend with their top three batting averages all held by freshmen (Serruto, C. Brito, and Dezzi).

Next up:

RU travels to New Orleans for a round robin.

Friday: Butler at 1:30 pm.

Saturday: University of New Orleans at 3 pm.

Sunday: Chicago State at 11 am.