BLACKSBURG, Va. (March 18, 2014) – Continuing its spring break trip, Rutgers baseball will take on Virginia Tech at English Field Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The Scarlet Knights are 2-1 on the trip so far and have won four of the last five games overall.
Game 17: Wednesday, March 19
First Pitch: 5:30 p.m.
Rutgers Starter: RHP Kevin Baxter (0-2, 8.79)
Virginia Tech Starter: LHP Kit Scheetz (1-1, 8.83)
Live Stats: Link
The Scarlet Knights (7-9) took two of three games in a tournament in Richmond, Va., over the weekend, defeating Buffalo and Lafayette. Senior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.), who continues to lead the American Athletic Conference in hitting at .443 and slugging at .738, went 5-for-11 in the three games and totaled a .571 on-base percentage. Junior Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) extended his hitting streak to a career-best 12 games and is hitting .420 during that stretch. Rutgers has scored at least five runs in each of the last eight games and is hitting .287 as a team this season (third amongst AAC teams).
On the mound, redshirt freshman Kevin Baxter (Waterford, N.J.) will make the start against the Hokies. He last appeared in the series opener at Oklahoma March 7. Fellow redshirt freshman Max Herrmann (Rutherford, N.J.) has been the most effective option out of the bullpen, leading the relievers with eight appearances and a 2.70 ERA.
Senior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) has started the last 161 games, the seventh-longest active streak in the nation … RU is tied for third nationally with 17 sacrifice flies this season, having had at least one in the last seven games … the defense leads the conference with a .974 fielding percentage … RU is 6-1 when playing errorless ball in a game … senior Lou Clemente (Union, N.J.) is second in the American with a .500 on-base percentage, while O’Grady is third at .493 … senior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) went 6-for-10 with a .733 on-base percentage in four games last week to earn NJCBA Division I Player of the Week … the game against Virginia Tech is sixth contest in a row versus a new opponent … the Scarlet Knights are 7-5 since starting the season 0-4 … freshman pitchers have worked 67 percent of the innings this season (89.1) … team has scored in first inning seven times and is 5-2 in those games … also 6-3 when scoring first overall.
SCOUTING VIRGINIA TECH
The Hokies (9-8, 3-3), a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, are 7-3 at home this season and coming off a home three-game sweep against Pittsburgh in a conference series. Saige Jenco leads the offense at a .351 batting average, while Brendon Hayden has blasted four of the team’s seven home runs this season. Left-hander Kit Scheetz will get the start on the mound and last appeared in relief last Wednesday versus VCU. Patrick Mason is in his first season as head coach after being promoted from associate head coach last June. It is his fifth season overall at Virginia Tech.
Last season the Hokies qualified for the NCAA Regionals and hosted at English Field. Click here for more information on Virginia Tech baseball.
The Scarlet Knights and Hokies used to both be in the BIG EAST, with Rutgers taking two of the three games on the road in the last series matchup in 2004. RU leads the all-time series, 8-4.
RU will next open conference play against Louisville at Jim Patterson Stadium starting Friday. The Scarlet Knights took three of the four meetings with the Cardinals last season.