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Rutgers Baseball closes out series victory with shutout of Illinois

The Scarlet Knights continue to roll at the right time.

Dustin Satloff/Rutgers Athletics
Dustin Satloff/Rutgers Athletics

Rutgers Baseball ended the weekend with a series victory against Illinois.

The Scarlet Knights have now won seven out of eight to improve to 32-19, 13-8 in Big Ten play. Rutgers is also 16-4 at home this season.

Rutgers will be in action for its final series of the year beginning on Thursday against Minnesota. Rutgers is currently fourth in the Big Ten standings, two games behind Indiana and Maryland. The Big Ten Tournament begins on May 23 from Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Neb.

Friday, May 12 - Rutgers 5, Illinois 4

Rutgers held on for a victory in the series opener on Friday against the Illini.

Christian Coppola continued to impress, throwing six innings allowing just one run on eight hits while striking out six and walking one. The offense gave Coppola run support early to help earn his fifth win of the year.

Andy Axelson launched a three-run home run in the second inning to take control. A Ryan Lasko double and Chris Brito single plated two more runs in the fourth to build a 5-0 lead.

Illinois made it interesting with two runs in the eighth inning to cut its deficit to 5-4.

Ben Gorski closed out the game with a six-out save. After allowing two runs in the eighth, Gorski pitched a scoreless ninth to secure the victory.

Saturday, May 13 - Illinois 9, Rutgers 7

Illinois flipped the switch on the Scarlet Knights in the middle game of the series.

The Illini scored five in the second and four in the third to build a 9-2 lead. The Scarlet Knights made a run late but it was too late.

Lasko ripped a two-run triple in the fifth inning before Brito knocked him in with a double. In the eighth, Brito homered and Cameron Love knocked in a run with a single.

Brito finished 3-for-4 with three RBI. The top three in the lineup went 7-for-14 during the loss. Despite falling, the Scarlet Knights continue to hit and seem to be getting hot at the right time.

Sunday, May 14 - Rutgers 3, Illinois 0

On Sunday, the staff for Rutgers turned in a gem during a 3-0 win at ShoreTown Ballpark in Lakewood, NJ.

Justin Sinibaldi improved to 5-1 after tossing five scoreless innings. He gave up for hits while striking out seven and walking four. Jake Marshall would go the next three, allowing no runs on two hits and striking out five, before Gorski closed it out with a perfect ninth to earn his eighth save of the year.

Rutgers took an early lead as Evan Sleight grounded out to drive in a run before Hugh Pinkney turned in an RBI single.

Brito launched his second home run of the series in the bottom of the eight to add an insurance run.

Following the victory, Rutgers’ team ERA dropped to 4.34, which is second in the Big Ten.