CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 19, 2011) – The Rutgers baseball team erased an early three-run deficit and later a two-run deficit in the seventh to send the game to extra innings where the Scarlet Knights upended No. 18 Miami, 6-5, in 10 innings Saturday night in front of 3,687 fans at Alex Rodriguez Park to earn a hard-fought, come-from-behind victory.
The win was the first for Rutgers (1-1) over Miami (1-1) since Feb. 21, 2009, ending a five-game losing streak to the Hurricanes in south Florida. RU and UM have opened the season against each other each of the last three seasons.
With the score tied in the 10th inning and senior Russ Hopkins (Piscataway, N.J.) on first with one out, sophomore Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) delivered a double to center field to put both runners in scoring position where a wild pitch from Miami reliever Adam Sargent brought home Hopkins for the go-ahead score. In his first appearance as a Scarlet Knight, sophomore Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) – who transferred to RU from Duquesne in the offseason – capped his second scoreless frame of relief with a 1-2-3 10th inning to seal the win for the Scarlet Knights.
Miami had been in command early with a run in the first and two more in the fifth all thanks to Hurricane slugger Michael Broad, who drove in all three runs with a pair of singles.
The Scarlet Knights wasted little time erasing that deficit with three runs in the top half of the sixth to tie the game. Junior Dan Perrine (Scotch Plains, N.J.) opened the inning with a double down the left-field line and senior Brandon Boykin (Teaneck, N.J.) singled back up the middle and stole second to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Senior Michael Lang (Dumont, N.J.) tripled to right field to bring both runners home and chase Miami starter E.J. Encinosa out of the contest. Sophomore Steve Nyisztor (Toms River, N.J.) brought Lang home later in the frame with a sacrifice fly to tie it up.
Junior Willie Beard (Spotswood, N.J.) started the bottom half of the sixth in relief of starter Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.), who was strong in his first career start. Beard got two quick outs before the Hurricanes recorded a walk and back-to-back doubles from Chantz Mack and Zeke DeVoss to bring home a pair of runs and jump back on top with a 5-3 advantage.
Miami brought in its second reliever of the contest with Javi Salas opening the eighth on the mound. He got a quick out before facing the top of the Rutgers lineup. The Scarlet Knights loaded the bases thanks to back-to-back singles from Lang and Steven Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) and a free pass for Nyisztor after he was hit by an inside pitch. Salas got a big strikeout to come within one out of getting out of the jam unscathed, but Hoermann came through again for RU. The sophomore took a 0-1 offering through the left side to bring home both Lang and Zavala and tie the game back up.
Rutgers looked to continue its momentum in the ninth with the bases loaded and one out, but Sargent – who entered at the beginning of the frame – induced an inning-ending double play.
Corsi (1-0) made his Scarlet Knight debut in the bottom of the ninth and delivered a shutout frame to force extra innings for the second-consecutive night and set up the 10th-inning dramatics.
The sophomore earned the win with two innings of scoreless relief for the Scarlet Knights. Sargent (0-1) was tagged with the loss after surrendering the run in the 10th.
Lost in the late-inning excitement was a strong performance from Smorol in his first collegiate start. The Scarlet Knight posted a career-high eight strikeouts in a career-long five innings of work in the no decision.
Hoermann, Perrine and Lang each collected two hits to account for six of RU’s eight hits in the contest.
Rutgers and Miami will conclude the series with the rubber game tomorrow slated for noon. Junior righty Nathaniel Roe (Plainfield, N.J.) will make his first start as a Scarlet Knight against sophomore righty Eric Whaley for the Hurricanes.