Rutgers took a trip out to Lincoln to take on No. 19 Nebraska and was able to extend its winning streak to five in a row to put themselves into serious contention for the NCAA Regionals.
The Scarlet Knights took all three games from the Cornhuskers over the weekend. This was the first road sweep in conference for Rutgers since joining the Big Ten. They are now 12-6 on the road this year including winning seven of their last eight. It was the first series loss of the season for Nebraska.
This series showed that Rutgers is trending in the right direction and getting there quicker than some might have expected.
Rutgers was able to get strong pitching performances all weekend, which has come to be expected with how their rotation is performing. It began on Friday afternoon when Harry Rutkowski took the mound. He went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, while striking out seven. Rutkowski exited the game trailing 3-2.
The Scarlet Knights scored seven runs over the final two innings. Evan Sleight and Kevin Welsh delivered RBI knocks while Mike Nyisztor drove in two runs after two hit by pitches.
On Saturday, Ben Wereski lasted just 3.2 innings but it was the bullpen that shined. Rutgers fell behind 5-0 in the fourth inning but was able to fight their way back. Justin Sinibaldi and Parker Scott combined to throw 4.1 scoreless innings out of the pen.
Welsh began the comeback with an RBI double in the tp of the fifth. A pinch-hit two-run home run by Josh Rodriguez and a solo shot by Nyisztor got the Scarlet Knights within one. It was Welsh who tied the game in the eighth on an RBI single before Sleight gave the team the lead in the top of the ninth.
Nate McLain delivered a scoreless inning to pick up his third save of the season. The Scarlet Knights locked up the series victory and were going for a sweep on Sunday.
Richie Schiekofer got the Scarlet Knights going early with an RBI double in the top of the first. This would be all that was needed for Brent Teller. He went seven scoreless innings allowing just two hits and striking out eight. Teller has moved into the top 10 in the Big Ten with a 3.35 ERA.
Schiekofer would strike again in the top of the fourth by driving in two more with another double. The Scarlet Knights were able to break the game open and finish it off for the sweep.
Rutgers is now 17-13 on the year and in sixth place in the Big Ten. They will return home this weekend after two straight series on the road. The Scarlet Knights will host No. 24 Indiana this weekend for two games, followed by Nebraska for two more. The Hoosiers have moved into the top 25 after winning their last two and jumped to the top of the big Ten standings ahead of the Cornhuskers.
Baseball is the latest team for Rutgers that is finding success on the field or court. When looking at the current makeup of the Scarlet Knights, they are ready to compete now and for years to come. Head coach Steve Owens has done a great job rebuilding this program so quickly in his tenure.