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Baseball Starts Spring Break in Richmond
  • Posted on March 13, 2014 6:30:20 PM
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  • Will Schneekloth


    PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 13, 2014) – Starting an eight-game spring break trip, Rutgers baseball will take part in a tournament at The Diamond in Richmond, Va., this weekend, playing games against Buffalo, Lafayette and VCU. The Scarlet Knights have raised their team batting average to .300 after collecting at least 11 hits in the last five games and seven times in the last nine.

    Game 14: Friday, March 14
    First Pitch: 2 p.m.
    Rutgers Starter: RHP Kyle Driscoll (1-1, 4.24)
    Buffalo Starter: LHP Mike McGee (1-1, 3.00)
    Live Stats: Link

    Game 15: Saturday, March 15
    First Pitch: 1 p.m.
    Rutgers Starter: TBA
    Lafayette Starter: RHP Mitch Leeds (0-0, 3.86)
    Live Stats: Link

    Game 16: Sunday, March 16
    First Pitch: 2 p.m.
    Rutgers Starter: LHP Ryan Fleming (0-0, 10.12)
    VCU Starter: LHP JoJo Howie (2-0, 2.16)
    Live Stats: Link

    The Scarlet Knights (5-8) enter the weekend after winning the last two, including a 13-5 win in the home opener over Hofstra Tuesday at Bainton Field. RU scored seven runs in the third inning to blow open the game, with senior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) leading the way with a career-high four hits, as the team collected 15. Freshman Christian Campbell (Sayreville, N.J.) had three RBIs, while senior Michael Zavala (Randolph,  N.J.) scored three times. On the mound, sophomore Reed Shuttle (Lansdale, Pa.) turned in his best outing as a Scarlet Knight and freshman Gaby Rosa (Perth Amboy, N.J.) provided effective relief.

    The win over the Pride backed up a win in the series finale over Oklahoma. The tournament at VCU marks the fifth of seven weekends on the road to start the RU schedule.

    Senior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) continues to lead the offensive charge with a .440 batting average through 13 games, with classmate Lou Clemente (Union, N.J.) (.394), junior Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) (.365) and Sweeney (.359) all hitting clear of .300. Redshirt freshman Kyle Driscoll (Toms River, N.J.) will make his first start in a weekend opener Friday, coming off his best performance so far. The right-hander stifled the Sooners with no earned runs allowed over six innings, striking out five. Freshman left-hander Ryan Fleming (Churchville, Pa.) will make his second career start in the weekend finale, putting the Scarlet Knights in position to win with 4.1 innings against OU.

    Senior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) has started the last 158 games, the sixth-longest streak in the nation … 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 … all weekend starting innings from 2013 graduated … Favatella has reached base in the last 11 games … Zarrillo is currently on nine-game hitting streak … O’Grady has seventh multiple-hit games … RU has had four games in which a player has collected four hits (O’Grady 2, Zarrillo, Sweeney) … the defense has only committed seven errors in the last nine games … team is 4-1 when not committing an error … Scarlet Knights are in a stretch of playing eight different opponents in eight games … 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.

    The Bulls (7-3) are under the direction of eighth-year head coach Ron Torgalski and play in the MAC. The offense is led by infielder Tyler Mautner, who is hitting .419 with 11 RBIs through 10 games. On the mound, the Bulls will throw left-hander Mike McGee. He surrendered two earned runs over four innings in his last start at Georgia.

    Led by 15th-year head coach Joe Kinney, the Leopards are 5-4 so far this season. Tyler Hudson leads the bats with a .364 average so far, collecting six RBIs. Right-hander Mitch Leeds is the projected Saturday starter and he has worked to a 3.86 in two starts so far. The pitching staff has recorded a 2.80 this season. Rutgers beat Lafayette on the road last season, 14-8.

    The Rams are 13-3 and most recently defeated Virginia Tech, 21-14, in a midweek game. James Bunn paces the team with a .397 average on 23 hits, while four other hitters are over .300. Left-hander JoJo Howie will make the start against RU and has allowed only six earned runs over 25 innings this season. Head coach Shawn Stiffler is in his second season at the helm of the program and sixth overall. The Rams and Scarlet Knights split a pair of games that went to extra innings at The Diamond last season.

    Rutgers will continue its spring break trip with a Tuesday game at Virginia and a Wednesday game at Virginia Tech. The Scarlet Knights will open conference play the following weekend at Louisville.

    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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