NORFOLK, VA - The Rutgers baseball team (3-3) rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead, only to allow four unearned runs in the sixth and seventh innings as ODU defeated the Scarlet Knights, 8-4, this afternoon in the series finale at Metheny Field.
ODU scored single runs in each of the first three innings, taking a 3-0 lead, while the Monarchs’ starter Donnie Smith held RU in check through four, allowing just three singles, two of which never left the infield. Much like they did on Saturday, the Scarlet Knights kept battling and finally broke through in the fifth inning.
With one out, Graig Badger (Union, NJ) singled to center and, with two outs, stole second base without a throw for his first steal of the season. Jeff Frazier (Toms River, NJ) then lined a single to left, scoring Badger to cut the lead to 3-1. Rich Canuso (Monroe, NJ) then erased the other two runs with one swing, homering down the right-field line to tie the game at 3-3.
After another scoreless inning from RU starter Erik Dial (Basking Ridge, NJ), the Scarlet Knights took a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth with some bottom-of-the-order production. Jeff Miller (Wyckoff, NJ) led off with a walk and moved over to second on a groundout by Steve Hook (Langhorne, PA). Nine-spot hitter Jason Grover (Montgomery, NJ) followed with a sharp single to center, plating Miller for RU’s first lead of the afternoon and chasing Smith from the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, ODU put runners at first and second on a single and walk, signaling the end of Dial’s outing. Freshman Steve Healing (Brick, NJ) entered the game in relief and was victimized by a pair of errors, which led to two runs and a 6-4 ODU lead. A two-base error by left fielder Dave Williams (Franklin, NJ) in the seventh opened the door for two more ODU runs and an 8-4 lead.
Badger (2-for-3, 2 walks) and Canuso (2-for-4, HR, BB, 2 RBI) were the only RU hitters with more than one hit. Dial (0-2) allowed eight hits and six runs (four earned) in 5.2 innings.
The Scarlet Knights return to action next Friday (March 5), when they open a three-game series at No. 3 Georgia Tech. BOX SCORE