PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 6, 2014) – Heading southwest, Rutgers baseball is set to take on Oklahoma in a three-game series at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The weekend series will start with a doubleheader Friday due to a poor weather forecast for Saturday, and will wrap up with a game on Sunday afternoon. It will mark the fourth twinbill in as many weekends for the Scarlet Knights.
The Scarlet Knights (3-6) enter the weekend after having its scheduled home opener against Seton Hall postponed Wednesday. In its last series, RU took the opener, 4-2, against Old Dominion before dropping the last two games. Senior first baseman Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.), who leads the American Athletic Conference with a .471 batting average and a .794 slugging percentage, went 7-for-12 (.583) with six runs scored against the Monarchs to earn conference Player of the Week. On the mound, sophomore left-hander Howie Brey (Middletown, N.J.) worked 6.1 scoreless frames to pick up a spot on the AAC Weekly Honor Roll, as he has not allowed a run in his last 15.1 innings pitched.
Senior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) has started the last 154 games, the sixth-longest streak in the nation … RU has used 17 freshman players this season (three redshirt) … the pitching staff utilized nine freshman pitchers on the opening week, the most in the nation … all weekend starting innings from 2013 graduated … Favatella has reached base in the last seven games and joins junior Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) as Scarlet Knights currently on five-game hitting streaks … freshman Mike Carter (Bloomfield, N.J.) started his career with a six-game hitting streak that was snapped at Old Dominion … Rutgers is scheduled to play the first seven weekends of the season on the road … the team has never played a game in the state of Oklahoma.
The Sooners (9-4), who play in the Big 12 Conference, reached the NCAA Super Regionals last season and are now under the direction of first-year head coach Pete Hughes. OU most recently won two midweek games over Abilene Christian Wednesday and Thursday to lead into the weekend. Mac James leads the offense with a .457 average in 12 games, collecting seven doubles, while Hunter Haley has slugged four home runs. On the mound, lead starter Corey Copping has not allowed a run in two starts, as the staff has worked to a 2.50 team ERA. RU will be the second New Jersey opponent for Oklahoma following Seton Hall’s trip to Mitchell Park for the opening weekend.
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The only meeting between the Scarlet Knights and the Sooners came in an NCAA Tournament game in 1998 in Tallahassee, Fla., with OU winning, 9-7. This weekend marks the first series between the two programs.
Rutgers will attempt to play its home opener Wednesday, March 12 at Bainton Field against Hofstra. The Scarlet Knights will then travel to Richmond, Va., for a tournament that includes games against Buffalo, VCU and Lafayette.