CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 19, 2012) – Junior catcher Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) hit his first career home run and classmate Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) collected three hits, but it was not enough as No. 13 Miami took the series finale, 9-7, on Sunday afternoon at Alex Rodriguez Park to earn the sweep. The game lasted exactly four hours.
Rutgers (0-3) out-hit Miami (3-0), 12-11, after picking up 11 base knocks in the first two games combined. However, the Scarlet Knights missed several opportunities with men on base, leaving 14 stranded.
Alex Fernandez (1-0) earned the win for the Hurricanes, while junior Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) (0-1) suffered the loss in his first start of the season.
The Scarlet Knights struck first in the top of the second with an RBI single from sophomore Ross Costello (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.), the first of his career, to drive in freshman Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.), who also picked up his first-career hit to reach base.
UM responded with a three-run inning in the bottom of the frame, highlighted by two RBI singles. The Hurricanes tacked on another run in the fourth on a Peter O’Brien home run. O’Brien also homered in the sixth, going 4-for-5 with three runs and three RBIs on the day.
Rutgers, down 4-1 after three, countered with a three-run outburst that started with two singles and a walk. Sophomore Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) came through with a two-run single with two down to knock Miami starter Bryan Radziewski out of the game. Sophomore Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) later earned a walk with the bases loaded to tie the game at four.
The Hurricanes put up another three-spot in the bottom of the fourth to knock out Corsi and give the home team a 7-4 lead, which would not be relinquished.
Each team registered one run in each the fifth and sixth innings, including the solo homer by Melillo to left field. RU had a chance for more that inning, but a diving catch from Chantz Mack with the bases loaded off a line drive from Costello prevented further damage.
The final run of the game was driven in by Favatella on a single to left to bring in O’Grady. In the process, Favatella extended his hitting streak to 14 games going back to last season.
Hoermann, O’Grady, Melillo and Zarrillo each had multi-hit games, while Zarrillo scored three times to lead the offensive attack.
E.J. Encinosa earned his first save of the season for Miami with a perfect ninth inning.
Rutgers returns to action next weekend, traveling to Old Dominion University for a three-game series against the Monarchs starting Friday.
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