DeLAND, Fla. (March 16, 2012) – Rutgers University baseball could not get the bats going against Stetson University ace Kurt Schluter, losing 3-0 in the series opener on Friday at Melching Field. Senior Ryan Fasano (Stony Point, N.Y.) suffered his second-straight hard-luck loss for the Scarlet Knights, pitching seven innings with only two earned runs allowed.
Schluter (4-0) won his 15th-straight decision for the Hatters (14-3), holding Rutgers (7-8) to four hits in seven scoreless innings on the mound. Fasano (0-3), who was charged with a loss in a complete-game effort in his previous start at FAU, suffered the tough defeat.
The Scarlet Knights had their best chance to tie the score in the eighth, down 2-0, after Schluter had departed and the SU bullpen entered the game. Sophomore Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) doubled and junior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) singled to set up runners at the corners with no outs, but the Hatters made a key defensive play to cut down Favatella at the plate and picked up a big strikeout to end the threat to keep the advantage.
Stetson closer Robbie Powell prevented a rally in the ninth to earn his sixth save of the season.
With Fasano and Schluter each trading scoreless innings early on, it was the Hatters who scratched across the first run in the fifth inning. The rally started when Ryan Lashley doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Mitchel Brennan came through with an RBI single to give the hosts the lead. Fasano induced a doubleplay to prevent further damage in the inning.
Brennan homered to right field in the seventh for the second run and the Hatters added insurance in the eighth when Ben Carhart hit a two-out RBI single to set the score at 3-0.
Favatella led RU offensively with two hits, while senior Patrick Kivlehan (West Nyack, N.Y.) picked up two stolen bases.
Rutgers will look to even the series Saturday with junior Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) on the mound, opposed by Lindsey Caughel. First pitch at Melching Field is scheduled for 2 p.m.
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