PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 3, 2013) – Senior Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) did not allow an earned run in 7.2 innings on the mound, but Connecticut scored three unearned runs in the eighth to down Rutgers baseball, 3-1, in the series opener Friday at Bainton Field. The Scarlet Knights moved to 8-8 in the BIG EAST and 20-25 overall, while the Huskies improved to 9-10 and 28-19.
Sophomore Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) and junior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) both collected multiple-hit games, but RU left eight runners on base. The offense recorded nine hits and drew three walks on the day.
Smorol (4-5) suffered the tough loss after striking out four in his 12th start of the season. He scattered nine hits and walked two, making tough pitches early in the game to quash several UConn threats. The left-hander lowered his earned run average under three at 2.95.
UConn scored all of their runs after two were retired in the top of the eighth. Billy Ferriter looped a single to left to start the rally and moved up to third on an error at first that extended the frame. Then Max McDowell lined a single to tie the game, with Stanley Paul doubling to put the visitors on top. After a pitching change, McDowell stole home on a play in which Paul was caught between second and third.
The Scarlet Knights put two on with one out in the ninth, but Pat Butler entered and closed out the game for his second save. Carson Cross (7-3) earned the victory by giving up one run over 7.2 innings. The right-hander surrendered eight hits, struck out four and walked two.
After Cross and Smorol exchanged scoreless frames to start the game, Rutgers rallied for a run in the fourth. Zarrillo walked to leadoff and moved to third on an executed hit-and-run single the other way by senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.). Senior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) next stepped up and hit a ball through the right side for an RBI single. It was the sixth time in 18 games RU lost when scoring first.
Senior Nathaniel Roe (Plainfield, N.J.) tossed 1.1 scoreless innings and picked up two strikeouts in relief.
Game two of the series will pit Law against left-hander Anthony Marzi. First pitch at Bainton Field is set for 1 p.m., with the game being broadcast on RVision and WRSU.