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Baseball Continues BIG EAST Action at Villanova
Scarlet Knights set for seventh straight road weekend series
  • Posted on March 27, 2013 8:13:09 PM
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    PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 27, 2013) – Beginning BIG EAST play with a series win at Louisville last weekend, Rutgers baseball will continue its conference slate at Villanova in a three-game set that begins Thursday at Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. It will be the seventh straight road series for the Scarlet Knights.

    Rutgers (8-12, 2-1 BIG EAST) currently has the No. 1 strength of schedule in the country according to Boyd’s World.

    Game 21: Thursday, March 28
    First Pitch: 3:15 p.m.
    Rutgers Starter: LHP Rob Smorol (2-1, 2.89)
    Villanova Starter: RHP Pat Young (1-2, 3.18)
    Live Stats: GameTracker
    Audio ($): Nova Nation All-Access

    Game 22: Friday, March 29
    First Pitch: 3:30 p.m.
    Rutgers Starter: RHP Tyler Gebler (1-3, 4.10)
    Villanova Starter: RHP Stephen Ostapeck (0-2, 5.14)
    Live Stats: GameTracker
    Audio ($): Nova Nation All-Access

    Game 23: Saturday, March 30
    First Pitch: 1:15 p.m.
    Rutgers Starter: RHP Charlie Law (1-2, 6.46)
    Villanova Starter: LHP Josh Harris (2-3, 1.32)
    Live Stats: GameTracker
    Audio ($): Nova Nation All-Access

    The Scarlet Knights most recently suffered a 9-3 midweek setback at Rider in their first game in New Jersey this season. Junior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) led the team with a three-run double, but RU could not overcome an early deficit. Rutgers is in the midst of 23 straight road games to start the season, most in the country.

    Offensively, senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) leads the unit with a .382 batting average, while tying with classmate Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) for the most RBIs (11). Junior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) has been a staple in the lineup, starting the past 107 games since his freshman season.

    On the mound, RU will stay with its usual starting rotation after giving up just four earned runs over 21.2 innings at Louisville. Seniors Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) (16.2 innings, 0.00 ERA) and Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) (18.2 innings, 3.86 ERA) have each made four career appearances – two starts – against Villanova for a combined 3-0 record. The duo both tossed a complete game at home versus the Wildcats last season. Law will make his seventh start in the last game of the series, working a career-high eight innings for a victory last time out against the Cardinals. He was named BIG EAST Player of the Week Monday.

    Due to the odd number of teams in the league, Villanova (6-16) has yet to play a BIG EAST series this season. The Wildcats most recently won a midweek game at La Salle, 5-3, to snap a four-game losing streak. Josh Harris leads the pitching staff with a 1.32 ERA, with Pat Young bring named national pitcher of the week by three different organizations after racking up 18 strikeouts in a win versus Chicago State March 15. Preseason All-BIG EAST selection Tyler Sciacca leads the offense in batting (.358), slugging (.566) and on-base (.452).

    Head coach Joe Godri is in his 12th season at the helm of the program, which plays its home games at Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth.

    This will be the fourth straight season that RU and VU meet for a three-game series. Last year, the Scarlet Knights took all three games to end the regular season at Bainton Field. After Gebler and Smorol pitched complete games in the first two games, the offense sent 15 batters to the plate to score 10 runs in the seventh inning of the finale, winning 10-8. The Wildcats took two-of-three in the last meeting at Plymouth in 2011, as they own a 36-34 all-time series lead.

    Rutgers will open its home schedule with a five-game homestand starting Tuesday, April 2 against Columbia at Bainton Field. The next conference series will be against rival Seton Hall.

    Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding baseball, follow the program on Twitter @baseballRU.

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