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Baseball Takes Finale at Oklahoma, 8-6
Scarlet Knights rally late and hold on in the ninth
  • Posted on March 09, 2014 5:40:59 PM
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  • Vinny Zarrillo had four hits and three RBIs in the win at Oklahoma.
    Eric Espada
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    Win-Herrmann (1-0) • Loss-Krittenbrink (0-1) • Save-Young (3) • T-3:19 •  A-867


    NORMAN, Okla. (March 9, 2014) – Rutgers baseball used a pair of late rallies and held on in the ninth inning to defeat Oklahoma, 8-6, in the series finale Sunday at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Six players recorded multiple hits in the game for the Scarlet Knights, led by four hits and three RBIs from junior Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.).

    Redshirt freshman Max Herrmann (Rutherford, N.J.) (1-0) earned his first collegiate win by allowing only one run over a season-long three innings in relief, helping RU improve to 4-8 on the year. Junior Jon Young (Old Bridge, N.J.) earned his third save by retiring the final two outs with the bases loaded.

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    After the Sooners took a 5-3 lead in the sixth inning, Rutgers bounced back with three runs in the seventh to go up, 6-5. Freshman Mike Carter (Bloomfield, N.J.) laced an opposite-field single to lead off and advanced to third on a ringing double to the left field corner by senior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.). Senior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Carter for the Scarlet Knights’ fourth run. Zarrillo next stepped up and stroked an RBI single on the first pitch to score Favatella as the tying run. Following a strikeout and a walk, freshman Tom Marcinczyk (Middlesex, N.J.) continued his breakthrough weekend with a two-out RBI single through the right side to give the Scarlet Knights the lead.

    Oklahoma evened the game once again in the bottom of the frame on a two-out solo home run by Mac James. James went 4-for-4 with a walk to lead the Sooners offensively in the game.

    The contest would not stay tied long as Rutgers put up two more in its half of the eighth. Senior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) walked to start the rally, with Carter moving him into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Favatella was then drilled by a pitch and O’Grady beat out an infield chopper to the left side to load the bases for Zarrillo. The outfielder fell behind in the count, but battled to poke an unplayable ball down the third base line for an RBI single. Junior Michael Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) added an insurance run on a sacrifice fly to right field.

    Herrmann pitched a perfect eighth to settle down the scoring and send the game to the ninth, where he recorded one out before allowing a single, a hit by pitch and a walk to load the bases. Head coach Joe Litterio decided at this point to call to the bullpen to bring in Young. The right-hander proceeded to record shallow flyballs to right and left to end the game and seal the victory.

    Freshman Ryan Fleming (Churchville, Pa.) made his first career start on the mound for RU and allowed three runs over 4.1 innings, using two double plays to escape jams. Classmate Gaby Rosa (Perth Amboy, N.J.) helped Fleming out of the fifth inning by stranding both inherited runners.

    The Scarlet Knights jumped up to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning, sending eight batters to the plate. Favatella beat out a grounder to shortstop for an infield single to start the rally with one out and moved up to second on a single by O’Grady. Zarrillo then connected for an RBI single through the left side for the first run of the game, as the trail runners both advanced into scoring position on an errant throw from the outfield. O’Grady next scored on a wild pitch, with the ball trickling away on the throw back to home to allow Zarrillo to also come across.

    However, the Sooners responded in their half of the first with two runs on two hits. The first came in on a balk and the second on a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2. OU tied the game in the second on an RBI groundout.

    The pitchers were able to settle in from there, as the game stayed tied until OU scored twice in the bottom of the sixth. Three straight singles and a sacrifice fly brought in the runs, with Oklahoma loading the bases with one out looking for more. Herrmann entered, however, to buckle down and induce a double play started by Favatella to prevent further damage.

    That led to the late-inning drama, where Rutgers scored five times between the seventh and eighth innings. It was the first win in program history over the Sooners in only the fourth meetings.

    Drew Krittenbrink (0-1) suffered the loss for Oklahoma, who fell to 11-5 on the season.

    Rutgers will next attempt to play its home opener at Bainton Field Wednesday at 3 p.m. against Hofstra. The following series will be a three-game tournament played at VCU in Richmond, Va.

    NOTES
    Favatella has started the last 157 games dating back to his freshman season, the sixth-longest streak in the nation … the offense only struck out two times … the defense played errorless ball for the fifth time this season … the game last 3:19 and was played in front of 867 spectators … the game-time temperature was in the mid 50s.

    Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding baseball, follow the program on Twitter @baseballRU and Tumblr.

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