PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 27, 2011) – Junior Nathaniel Roe (Plainfield, N.J.) struck out four and allowed just two runs in 7.1 innings and relievers Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) and Jerry Elsing (Montville, N.J.) combined for 1.2 innings of scoreless relief to guide the Rutgers baseball team to a 4-2 victory over Louisville Sunday afternoon at Bainton Field.
Junior Russ Hopkins (Piscataway, N.J.) finished the afternoon 4-for-4 at the plate and senior D.J. Anderson (Randolph, N.J.) drove in a pair of runs for the Scarlet Knights in the victory.
Rutgers (8-13, 1-2 BIG EAST) jumped on the board early as freshmen Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) and Nick Favatella (Washington Twp., N.J.) drew walks to lead off the first and set the stage for a three-run inning for the Scarlet Knights. Senior Michael Lang (Dumont, N.J.) followed with a bunt down the third-base line, which was corralled by the third baseman, but an errant throw to first base allowed O’Grady to come around and score and Favatella and Lang to move into scoring position on the play. A groundout to second base off the bat of Andersonbrought Favatella home. Later, freshman Michael Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) hit a ground ball to the shortstop, who went home on the play but not before Lang slid under the tag for the third run of the frame.
With the three-run early cushion, Roe continued to stifle the Cardinal hitters. He retired the side in order in the first and allowed just one hit and five total base runners in his first six innings of work. The junior did not surrender his first hit until the fourth inning.
Louisville’s Stewart Ijames was the first to get around on Roe with an extra-base hit as the Cardinal junior took the Scarlet Knights’ 1-2 offering over the left-field fence for an opposite field home run in the seventh to give Louisville (15-8, 2-1 BIG EAST) its second hit and first run of the contest. The home run was Ijames’ fourth in as many games for the Cardinal junior. Roe rebounded, retiring the next three batters to get out of the inning.
The Scarlet Knights got a pair of one-out singles from O’Grady and Favatella and loaded the bases after Lang was hit with a pitch in their half of the seventh. Anderson, RU’s cleanup hitter, delivered for RU with an RBI single to center field to extend the Rutgers lead to 4-1. The Scarlet Knights threatened for more in the frame with the bases still loaded and one out but newly-inserted Louisville hurler Chad Green got Zavala to line into an inning-ending double play.
Louisville opened the eighth with three singles and pushed across a run on a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2. With one out and a pair of runners on for the Cardinals, the Scarlet Knights were forced to go to their bullpen for the first time in the contest. Corsi came in and executed the intentional walk to load the bases and create a force at any base with the Cardinals’ No. 4 and No. 5 hitters, Ijames and Ryan Seiz, coming to bat. Corsi induced a pop out in foul territory behind the plate for Ijames and got out of the jam with a comebacker, calmly corralling the ball and throwing to first for the final out of the frame to preserve a two-run lead.
Elsing came in and recorded a scoreless ninth for the Scarlet Knights to seal the victory and pick up his third save of the season.
Roe (2-4) picked up the victory in his 7.1 innings of solid work, while his counterpart, Mike Nastold (2-2) of Louisville, was tagged with the loss with two earned runs allowed on six hits in five innings.
Rutgers will return to action Wednesday against Wagner at Bainton Field at 3:30 p.m.