PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 30, 2011) – The Rutgers baseball team dropped an 8-2 decision to No. 18 Connecticut Saturday afternoon at Bainton Field. With RU taking the win in Friday’s contest, the Scarlet Knights (15-24, 7-10 BIG EAST) and Huskies (30-13, 14-3 BIG EAST) will play for the series win Sunday at 1 p.m.
UConn jumped on the board early with solo home runs in the first and second innings. L.J. Mazzilli took Rutgers starter Rob Smorol’s (Clark, N.J.) first offering of the game over the left-field fence and Ryan Fuller cleared the fence in left-center field in the second to give UConn the 2-0 advantage.
Connecticut used a three-run fifth inning to extend its lead to 5-0. Billy Ferriter singled up the middle with one out and swiped second base where Mazzilli singled him home on the next pitch for the first run of the frame. Three pitches later John Andreoli tripled down the right-field line to plate Mazzilli. Andreoli scored the final run of the frame on a George Springer sacrifice fly.
The Scarlet Knights put a pair of runners in scoring position without an out in the bottom half of the fifth as senior Brandon Boykin (Teaneck, N.J.) was struck with a Greg Nappo pitch and Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) followed two pitches later with a long drive to left-center field that bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double. Sophomore Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) delivered a ball to right field where the ball was corralled in foul territory, but deep enough to allow Boykin to race home and score on the sacrifice fly. Junior Dan Perrine (Scotch Plains, N.J.) laid down a well executed bunt that rolled down the first base line to bring home Hoermann for the second run of the frame.
RU could not close the gap any more, however, as Springer opened an 8-2 lead for the Huskies with a three-run home run in the ninth.
Nappo (6-2) pitched eight inning, surrendering just two hits and two earned runs with four strikeouts in the win, while Smorol (3-6) worked seven innings with five runs allowed and four strikeouts in the loss. Junior Ryan Fasano (Stony Point, N.Y.) came in for the final two innings for the Scarlet Knights.
Mazzilli collected four of Connecticut’s 13 hits in the contest, while Springer drove in four runs for the Huskies on the afternoon.
Junior righty Nathaniel Roe (Piscataway, N.J.) of the Scarlet Knights will face freshman lefty Brian Ward of the Huskies in Sunday’s series finale.