NORFOLK, VA - Junior Jack Egbert (Rutherford, NJ) allowed just three hits and one unearned run in nine innings and Jeff Frazier (Toms River, NJ) snapped a 1-1 tie with a sacrifice fly in the 10th as the Rutgers baseball team (2-2) defeated Old Dominion and its ace, Justin Verlander, 2-1, this afternoon at cold and windy Methany Field. Sophomore Matt Pustay (Hamilton, NJ) shut the door in the 10th, earning his first career save.
The game started as an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel, with Verlander striking out the side in the first inning and Egbert retiring 14 of the first 15 hitters he faced. Egbert allowed just a harmless single in the second inning; striking out five through the first four innings. Verlander, meanwhile, danced out of trouble in the first (1st and 2nd, one out) and the third (1st and 2nd, no outs), overcoming wildness in both innings.
In the sixth, with Verlander still holding a no-hitter, Frazier reached on a two-out, two-base error, extending the inning for Rich Canuso (Hamilton, NJ), who hammered a two-strike single to center, plating Frazier for a 1-0 lead.
The Monarchs put runners on first and second with one out in the sixth against Egbert, but a 4-6-3 double play erased the threat. In the seventh, with a runner on first, Canuso turned an unassisted double play to end the inning.
Holding a 1-0 lead in the ninth, Egbert remained in the game and retired the first hitter on a nice play by Graig Badger (Union, NJ). The next hitter reached on an infield error and scored three hitters later on a one-out sacrifice fly.
In the 10th, Badger reached on an error to open the inning and the next hitter, Jeff Grose (Iselin, NJ) sacrificed Badger to second, but a wild throw allowed Grose to reach safely and Badger to run to third. Frazier promptly delivered Badger with a fly ball to right and Pustay held the lead in the bottom half of the inning, stranding a runner on second base.
“Jack gave us a great effort today,” said head coach Fred Hill. “We were concerned about how the cold would affect him today and even thought about limiting his innings, but in the eighth inning, he was 20 pitches behind what he expected his pitch count to be. He got ahead of hitters, threw strikes and gave us a lot of groundball outs.”
Egbert (1-0) allowed three hits and one unearned run in nine innings, walking two and striking out six. The Scarlet Knights managed just three hits – one each by Canuso, Johnny Defendis (Staten Island, NY) and Cory Rodriguez (Bridgewater, NJ). Verlander allowed just two hits and one unearned run in 7.0 IP, walking four and striking out eight. He was clocked as high as 97 today and consistently threw 94-95 mph.
The two teams return to action tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. BOX SCORE