PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Feb. 21, 2013) – Rutgers baseball hits the road once again this weekend, traveling to Old Dominion for a three-game series at Bud Metheny Complex. It will be the 16th-straight season RU and ODU meet on the diamond.
RED ALERT: Friday's game time has been moved up to 1 p.m.
Game Four: Friday, Feb. 22
Game Five: Saturday, Feb. 23
Game Six: Sunday, Feb. 24
The Scarlet Knights (0-3) opened the season last weekend, dropping all three at No. 28 Miami. The Scarlet Knights had a chance to take the first game after overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the ninth inning to take the lead, but the Hurricanes rallied for two in the bottom half for the victory. It was the fifth-straight year RU began the season at Miami.
For the series, sophomore outfielder Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) led the team with six hits. He started the first two games batting ninth before moving to the five-spot in the weekend finale.
Head coach Fred Hill will go with the same pitching rotation at Old Dominion. Senior Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) was sharp in his first outing (six strikeouts), allowing only three hits and three runs in six innings on the mound. The left-hander worked seven innings to pick up a win over the Monarchs last season. Seniors Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) and Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) were able to keep RU in the game in their starts versus Miami.
SCOUTING OLD DOMINION
The Monarchs (1-1) split a pair of games against Marshall at home last weekend, with one canceled due to weather. Outfielder Josh Eldridge recorded five hits in the series to go with four RBIs. On the mound, the staff did not allow an earned run and only 10 hits in 18.0 innings of work. Friday starter Dean Ali made two appearances out of the bullpen against RU last season. Head coach Chris Finwood in his second season at the helm of the program, which competes in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Rutgers picked up its first wins of the season with a three-game sweep at ODU in 2012. Timely hitting and effective pitching were the keys to success as the team hit .385 (15-39) with runners in scoring position and .489 (23-47) with two outs. RU overcame a 6-3 deficit in the opener highlighted by a key two-out double by Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) to tie the score at six. The go-ahead run scored on an error as Willie Beard pitched 3.1 scoreless innings to earn the win. Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) also recorded four hits. The Scarlet Knights jumped out to a 9-0 lead in game two and held on late to win 11-8. Smorol picked up the win with 7.0 innings pitched with only three hits and two earned runs allowed. Zavala hit his first-career home run in the five-run fifth inning that broke the game open. Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) tossed seven scoreless innings and Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) knocked in two runs to win the finale, 5-1.
The Scarlet Knights have won the last seven versus the Monarchs and lead the all-time series, 29-16.
Rutgers will fly to Atlanta to take on nationally-ranked George Tech in a three-game series, March 1-3. The Scarlet Knights open the season with 24 games on the road to start the season.