PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 27, 2014) – Rutgers baseball will return to the road for the seventh-straight weekend to play a conference series at UConn, starting Friday at J.O. Christian Field. The Scarlet Knights have played 19 of their 20 games away so far this season.
Game 23: Sunday, March 30
First Pitch: 3 p.m.
Rutgers Starter: RHP Gaby Rosa (2-0, 1.69)
UConn Starter: LHP Brian Ward (2-2, 4.66) or RHP Jordan Tabakman (1-1, 2.70)
Live Stats: GameTracker
Video ($): Link
The Scarlet Knights (8-12, 1-2) had their midweek game against Rider postponed due to cold conditions. Before that, the team last picked up an 11-2 victory at No. 7 Louisville Sunday to finish a seven-game road trip that made stops in Richmond, Va., for a tournament, Virginia Tech and Louisville. Freshman Gaby Rosa (Perth Amboy, N.J.) turned in the best performance for a Scarlet Knight pitcher this season with no earned runs allowed over eight innings, picking up a spot on the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll. He was backed by an offense that scored in six different innings. Freshman Mike Carter (Bloomfield, N.J.) sparked the lineup with a triple, walk, sacrifice bunt, sacrifice fly and two-run single, while senior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) and sophomore R.J. Devish (Beachwood, N.J.) each scored three times.
Senior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) continues to lead the league with a .395 average for the season, also placing second with a .632 slugging percentage and third with a .461 on-base percentage. Senior Lou Clemente (Union, N.J.) (.358, fifth) and junior Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) (.338, 10th) are also in the top 10 in hitting amongst conference players. The Scarlet Knights rank second with a .282 team batting average.
On the mound, Rutgers is projected to pitch three freshmen once again, as freshmen have started the last 11 weekend games. It will be the first time left-hander Ryan Fleming (Churchville, Pa.) works the series opener.
Rutgers is third in the nation with 20 sacrifice flies this season, one behind the nation’s leader entering the week … freshman Christian Campbell (Sayreville, N.J.) is tied for the conference lead with five sacrifice flies … the offense has scored with a runner on third and less than two outs 71 percent of the time … senior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) has started the last 165 games, the sixth-longest active streak in the nation … Favatella has 99 career RBIs … Rutgers has scored in the first inning nine times this season, going 6-3 in those games and 7-4 when scoring first overall … freshmen have accounted for 71 percent of the innings pitched for the Scarlet Knights this season (117.2) … O’Grady has had nine games with at least two hits … Zarrillo has had a hit in 15 of the last 16 games … RU has the No. 8 strength of schedule nationally according to Boyd’s World and No. 14 by Warren Nolan.
The Huskies (11-11, 1-2) started off conference play with a 1-2 weekend on the road at USF, taking the finale, 4-2. Vinny Siena leads the offensive attack with a .317 average with five doubles, with both Blake Davey and Bobby Melley each connecting for two home runs. The team is hitting .268 so far this season. Pitching has been a strength, as the staff has worked to a 2.45 ERA.
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The Scarlet Knights won two of three games versus the Huskies at Bainton Field last season, but lost a 2-1 game in the BIG EAST semifinals at Bright House Field. Rutgers leads the series 34-29 all-time, as this will be the final conference series between the two programs.
RU will play two midweek games in New York (Columbia and Iona) before returning home to host Houston in a three-game set at Bainton Field.