PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 3, 2013) – Rutgers baseball defeated Iona, 6-3, Wednesday at Bainton Field to increase its winning streak to five and jump over .500 for the first time this season. After starting the season 3-9, the Scarlet Knights have now won 10 of their last 13 games to improve to 13-12.
Senior Pat O’Leary (Sparta, N.J.) (1-0) tossed five effective innings to earn his first win of the season on the mound. The right-hander allowed three hits and two runs, while not permitting a walk. He retired the first 11 batters he faced.
Offensively, the bats collected double-digit hits (10) for the fourth straight game. Junior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.), senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) and freshman R.J. Devish (Beachwood, N.J.) all notched two hits at the plate. The Scarlet Knights slugged two more home runs, as senior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) crushed his third long ball in two days and freshman Matt Tietz (West Milford, N.J.) went deep for the first time in his career.
RU jumped on the board first in the bottom of the second on a RBI ground-rule double by Law. However, the Gaels scored in both the fourth and fifth to take a 2-1 advantage.
Then in the bottom of the fourth, Rutgers plated three unearned runs to take the lead for good. After Favatella singled and was forced out for the second out of the inning, Iona misplayed a pop fly that allowed junior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) to score all the way from first. Melillo next stepped up and sent a ball inside the foul pole in left to make the score 4-2. The veteran now has eight career home runs.
Iona fought back to score another run in the sixth, but RU distanced itself with two more tallies in the seventh. Tietz homered to start the inning, with Favatella singling to keep the pressure on. After two were sat down, Melillo worked a walk and senior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) came through with a sharp RBI single up the middle for the final run of the day.
Out of the bullpen, senior Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) pitched 2.1 scoreless innings to preserve the win and earn his third save. He struck out three in the outing.
Mariano Rivera (1-3) took the loss for Iona (3-24) after working 2.2 innings. The Gaels used six different pitchers against the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers will look to continue its winning ways Friday in the start of a three-game BIG EAST series with rival Seton Hall at Bainton Field. First pitch for the opener is set for 3 p.m.
O’Grady extended his hitting streak to 14 … Howie Brey tossed 1.2 innings in relief of O’Leary … Favatella has started the last 111 games … Melillo and O’Grady each drew two walks … Devish made his second career start at catcher and caught one runner trying to move up on a pitch in the dirt … game time temperature was recorded at 45 degrees.