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Rutgers Baseball win streak ends versus Hofstra

Team surrenders big rally in 6th, plus midweek update.

Sclafani got RU on the board first, but one big inning won he game for Hofstra.
Rutgers Athletics

Looking to build on their five game winning streak, Rutgers continued their season long home stand by hosting the Hofstra Pride Wednesday.

Hofstra 6, Rutgers 4

The Scarlet Knights started freshman Jared Bellissimo on the hill, the fourth week in a row he got the nod in a midweek contest. After Jared had a 1-2-3 top of the first, the Scarlet Knights gave him some support with a rally in the bottom half. The first two Rutgers batters were retired, but then they mounted a two-out rally.

Tim Dezzi walked then Chris Brito singled up the middle. Carmen Sclafani ripped a base hit into left, scoring Dezzi for the game’s first run. Luke Bowerbank followed with a single to plate Brito and move Sclafani to third. After a Bowerbank stolen base, Victor Valderrama flied out to end the inning.

Bellissimo continues to get better and was on cruise control with two outs and nobody on in the 4th. He allowed back to back doubles, to narrow the RU lead to 2-1, but regrouped to record a fly out to end the inning. After another scoreless frame, Belissimo was lifted after a solid 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO, and 1 HBP.

Parker Scott entered the game in the top of the 6th trying to preserve the Knights’ narrow advantage. After a leadoff walk, Sclafani threw out the next batter attempting to bunt, but the leadoff man now at second scored on a subsequent single. After another walk, Steven Acosta entered the fray.

Instead of getting a double play to end the inning, Sclafani made an error to load the bases with still only one out. Acosta who entered the game leading the team in ERA was victimized by a three-run double that cleared the bases. Acosta buckled down to get a groundout, but with two away another single brought in the Pride’s 6th run of the contest. Steven got a strikeout to end the inning, but the damage had been done. Hofstra now led 6-2.

Rutgers immediately loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the 6th but failed to score. Chris Brito was cut down at home on a sharp throw by the Hofstra third baseman, but RU still had the bases loaded with one out. Unfortunately, Peter Serruto grounded into a double play and RU came up empty.

After a 1-2-3 inning from Eric Reardon, Rutgers rallied again after stretch time. Kevin Blum reached on a throwing error, then Mike Nyisztor tripled to make it 6-3 with nobody out. Kevin Welsh grounded out to third so Mike had to hold, but Tim Dezzi grounded to second next allowing Nyisztor to trot home to trim the deficit to 6-4.

After Reardon pitched around two singles in the 8th, Rutgers again had two on with one out in the bottom of the inning. Luke Bowerbank delivered his 4th hit of the game and Victor Valderrama was hit by a pitch. Rather than give the good speed on the bases a chance to execute a double steal, Serruto grounded into another double play on the very first pitch of the at bat, and Rutgers remained down two heading to the 9th.

After Kyle Muller pitched around a ground-rule double in the top of the 9th, Rutgers had a chance to tie with their last licks. Nyisztor walked with one out, but bids to tie the game with deep fly balls were both not deep enough for Kevin Welsh and Tim Dezzi. It was a disappointing end to a nice stretch of wins for Rutgers Baseball.

Decisive stat: The five run 6th. Both teams had eight hits and committed one error, but Hofstra did nearly all their damage in one rally. The big inning was won a few games for Rutgers this year, but lost even more of them.

Notable: Bowerbank’s four hit game was the second such occurrence of his career.

Statistical Review (through 33 games)

Batting leaders (min. 2 PA/G and 75% of games played)

BA: Dezzi (.322), Nyisztor (.301), Serruto (.260)

Hits: Nyisztor (43), Dezzi (38), C. Brito (29)

HR: Sclafani (4), C. Brito & Valderrama (2)

RBI: Sclafani (18), McNamara (16), Dezzi (14)

Runs scored: Nyisztor, & Dezzi (19), Welsh (17)

Stolen bases: Nyisztor (9), Blum (6), Welsh (4)

OPS: Dezzi (.781), Nyisztor (.726), Sclafani (.713)

NOTE: Andy Axelson has two hits in four at bats. Brett Sternberg is 4-6 including a double.

Pitching leaders

W: S. Brito & Acosta (3), Murray & Genuario (2)

SV: S. Brito (6)

ERA: Acosta (2.42, 26.0 IP), Genuario (2.97, 36.1 IP), Rutkowski (3.23, 55.2 IP)

SO: Rutkowski (53), Murray (53), S. Brito (31)

IP: Rutkowski (55.2), Murray (39.1), Genuario (36.1)

Next up:

A three game weekend set to finish the home stand against Purdue, April 19-21. First pitch Friday is at 2 pm.

Bowerbank will look to stay hot.