RICHMOND, Va. (March 15, 2013) – Senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) hit a three-run homer in the sixth to tie the game and junior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J) connected for a go-ahead long ball in the ninth to lead Rutgers baseball to a series-opening win at Richmond, 5-4, Friday at Pitt Field. It was the first-ever meeting on the diamond between the two programs.
Down 3-0 in the sixth, the Scarlet Knights (4-9) batted around for four runs on four hits to take a 4-3 lead. Senior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) walked to leadoff and moved up to second on an infield single by junior Lou Clemente (Union, N.J.) that forced the Spiders to dip into their bullpen. Law then stepped to the plate and slammed a 3-1 pitch over the fence in left to tie the score. The blast was the fourth of his career and first since going deep at Cincinnati April 28, 2012.
The rally was not done there, as sophomore Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) followed with a double to left-center with still no one out. Following a fly out, junior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) reached on error to put runners at the corners. The Spiders then cut down Zarrillo at the plate for the second out on a fielder’s choice grounder, but Favatella picked up the team with a clutch RBI single to plate Sweeney and give RU its first lead of the day.
Richmond (14-4) fought back in the seventh to manufacture a run on a double, sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly to even the game at four.
Then in the top of the ninth with one away, Favatella sent a full count pitch the opposite way over the right field wall and into the parking lot for a home run. It was the seventh career long ball for the junior, who has now started the last 100 games for the Scarlet Knights dating back to his freshman season.
Senior Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) prevented any drama in the bottom of the ninth with a scoreless frame, earning his first career save.
The Scarlet Knights tallied nine hits on the day, with Favatella, Law and freshman Matt Tietz (West Milford, N.J.) all recording two knocks. It was the fourth straight game RU has been involved in that has been decided in a team’s last at bat.
Junior Charlie Lasky (Freehold, N.J.) (1-0) allowed just one hit and one run over three innings to earn the victory on the mound, while senior Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) permitted just one earned run with four strikeouts in a five-inning start.
Ryan Cook (0-2) suffered the loss for Richmond, who had won nine of 10 entering the day.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. at Pitt Field. Senior Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) will make his first appearance since tossing nine innings in a week at William & Mary.
Rutgers is now 4-3 in the state of Virginia this season … the team has now played five one-run games (1-4) … Smorol has allowed just one earned run over his last 12 innings … the Scarlet Knights last had multiple home runs in a game May 17, 2012 versus Villanova … Melillo has reached base safely in all 13 games this season … Tietz has started three games, recording two hits in two of them.