PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 10, 2014) – With sun and a high of 59 degrees forecasted, Rutgers baseball has moved its home opener against Hofstra up to Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Bainton Field. The Scarlet Knights have opened the season with 12 games on the road.
The Scarlet Knights (4-8) are coming off a win in their series finale at Oklahoma, 8-6. Junior Jon Young (Old Bridge, N.J.) sealed the game by retiring two batters with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, as redshirt freshman Max Herrmann (Rutherford, N.J.) earned his first collegiate win in relief. Junior Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) led a 14-hit attack with four hits and three RBIs in the game, with five other hitters picking up two hits.
Senior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) continues to lead the American Athletic Conference in hitting with a .438 batting average, while classmate Lou Clemente (Union, N.J.) (.367) and Zarrillo (.354) are also in the top 10 in the league. The Scarlet Knights are hitting .288 as a team – third-best in the conference – and have had at least 11 hits in the last four games and six times in the last eight. Defensively, Rutgers is second amongst AAC teams with a .972 fielding percentage and has committed the least number of errors (11).
Sophomore Reed Shuttle (Lansdale, Pa.) will make his second career start Tuesday and fourth appearance in 2014. The right-hander picked up a no-decision in his first collegiate start at Lafayette April 16, 2013.
Senior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) has started the last 157 games, the seventh-longest active streak in the nation … the second baseman collected his 200th career hit in the series at OU and is ninth in school history with 646 career at bats … Favatella has reached base in the last 10 games, while Zarrillo is riding an eight-game hitting streak … Rutgers went 12-6 last season at home and is 89-53-1 at the facility since FieldTurf was installed for the 2007 season … RU has used 17 freshmen players this season (three redshirt) … the pitching staff utilized nine freshmen pitchers on the opening week, the most in the nation … freshman Tom Marcinczyk (Middlesex, N.J.) broke through against the Sooners with six hits in the series, including a home run to the opposite field off a left-handed pitcher … Clemente leads the AAC with a .500 on-base percentage … RU hit .358 as a team at Oklahoma … the Scarlet Knights are in a stretch of playing eight different opponents in eight games … Rutgers is 6-1 in openers at Bainton Field, winning 15-6 over Columbia last season.
The Pride (5-6) most recently split a four-game series at Incarnate Word, including a 4-2 win in 12 innings in the third game. Kenny Jackson leads the offense with a .364 average and two home runs, as the team is hitting .243 as a unit. Alec Eisenberg will make his third start of the season on the mound and comes in with a 5.40 ERA. John Russo is in his sixth season on staff, with 2014 being his second full year as the head coach.
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Hofstra won the meeting last season on a walk-off home run by Kevin Brantley, also winning 7-0 at Bainton Field in 2012. Overall, the Scarlet Knights lead the series, 7-6.
RU will start its spring break trip in Richmond, Va., with weekend games against Buffalo, Lafayette and VCU. The trip will also make stops at Virginia and Virginia Tech before conference play opens at Louisville.