PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 17, 2014) – After playing six consecutive non-conference games, Rutgers baseball will return to American Athletic Conference action with a three-game series against Cincinnati at Bainton Field. The set will run Thursday to Saturday due to Easter.
WRSU will call all three games at 88.7-FM and online, while RVision will make its live season debut for the Saturday finale. Danny Breslauer and former RU pitcher Nathaniel Roe will have the broadcast for the free video stream at ScarletKnights.com.
The Scarlet Knights (15-18, 3-5) are in the midst of a 13-game homestand, with this being the third consecutive weekend at home. RU has won three of its last four, including a 7-1 win over Lafayette Wednesday. Freshman Mike Carter (Bloomfield, N.J.) picked up four hits in the contest, while freshman Ryan Fleming (Churchville, Pa.) and senior Charlie Lasky (Freehold, N.J.) combined to earn the win and save. Rutgers previously won two-of-three games versus Hartford last week during the league bye.
Offensively, RU is second in the American with both a .285 team batting average and .387 slugging percentage entering the weekend. Senior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) continues to lead the team in both of the categories at .352 and .549, while senior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) (.345), Carter (.322), junior Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) (.307) and senior Lou Clemente (Union, N.J.) (.307) are all hitting above .300. Senior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) leads the team with a current 17-game reaching base streak.
On the mound, sophomore Howie Brey (Middletown, N.J.) will start the series opener for the sixth time this season. The left-hander worked a career-long seven innings in his last start versus Hartford, allowing five hits and two runs in a no-decision. Hitters are batting .168 against Brey this season, the third-lowest average in the league amongst qualifying pitchers. Freshman Gaby Rosa (Perth Amboy, N.J.) tossed eight innings with no earned runs allowed to beat Hartford last Saturday, earning his second trip to the American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll this season. The right-hander struck out a season-best six hitters and leads the league with 14.34 fly outs induced per game. Out of the bullpen, redshirt freshman Max Herrmann (Rutherford, N.J.) has allowed opponents to hit just .239 against over 25.1 innings of relief.
A freshman pitcher has started 25 games this season and freshmen have accounted for 71 percent of innings pitched (200.0) … Favatella has started the last 175 games, the fifth-longest active streak in the nation … Favatella (226) and O’Grady (203) have both eclipsed 200 career hits this season … the team has connected for 17 triples this season, tying for seventh-most in a season in school history through on 33 games … RU is 14-3 this season when holding the opponent to five runs or less and 11-1 when limiting teams to four runs or less … the offense has scored 32 runs in the first inning, the most of any frame … RU last had a homestand of at least 13 games in 2004.
The Bearcats (15-20, 3-9) are under the direction of first-year head coach Ty Neal, a former assistant at Indiana. Cincinnati won its midweek game over crosstown rival Xavier, 2-0, but dropped its last conference series at home versus UConn. The offense is hitting .252 as a unit, while the pitching staff has worked to a 4.14 ERA.
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Cincinnati will be making the trip to Piscataway for the second year in a row, becoming the first team to do that for a weekend series since UConn in both 2004 and 2005. After the team split a doubleheader last season, RU overcame a triple play turned against for a 7-2 win in the rubber game. The Scarlet Knights lead the all-time series, 16-6, dating back to 2006.
RU will wrap up its 13-game homestand with a makeup game versus Rider Tuesday, April 22 at Bainton Field. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.