PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 21, 2014) – Winners of the last four games and seven of the last nine, Rutgers baseball will return to action Tuesday at Bainton Field versus Rider (2 p.m.) before traveling to Wagner Wednesday (3:30 p.m.). The game against the Broncs will wrap up a 13-game homestand for the Scarlet Knights, the longest since 2004.
Game 38: Wednesday, April 23
First Pitch: 3:30 p.m.
Rutgers Starter: LHP Ryan Fleming (2-0, 5.90)
Wagner Starter: LHP Nick DiLeo (0-0, 6.00)
Live Stats: Sidearm Sports
The Scarlet Knights (18-18, 6-5) are coming off a three-game sweep of Cincinnati to improve to .500 for the first time this season after beginning the year at 0-4. The pitching staff allowed just five earned runs (six overall) in the series, led by 8.1-inning, one-earned performance from freshman Gaby Rosa (Perth Amboy, N.J.). Redshirt freshman Kyle Driscoll (Toms River, N.J.) backed that outing with 11 strikeouts over six innings in the series finale, while classmate Max Herrmann (Rutherford, N.J.) provided 4.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn two saves in two appearances against the Bearcats.
Offensively, RU used a three-run home run in the sixth inning of the series opener from Lou Clemente (Union, N.J.) to take a lead it would not relinquish. Freshman Mike Carter (Bloomfield, N.J.) led the bats with nine hits in four games last week, with senior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) providing five RBIs. The Scarlet Knights rank second in the American Athletic Conference with a .280 team batting average, one point behind Louisville.
RU is 8-4 on its homestand … a freshman pitcher has started 27 games this season and freshmen have accounted for 71 percent of innings pitched (219.0) … Favatella has started the last 181 games, the fifth-longest active streak in the nation … Favatella (228) and O’Grady (207) have both eclipsed 200 career hits this season … the team has connected for 18 triples this season (sixth-most nationally), tying for sixth-most in a season in school history through only 36 games … RU is 17-3 this season when holding the opponent to five runs or less and 14-1 when limiting teams to four runs or less … Carter is currently on a seven-game hitting streak … pitching staff has held opponents to a .235 average over the last 10 games … the offense has scored 40 runs in the first inning (most of any frame) and is 15-3 when doing so … RU is second in the nation with 29 sacrifice flies, two off the leader (Southeast Missouri State).
The Broncs (5-15, 4-6), a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, are coming off a 1-2 weekend against Niagara at home. The offense has three hitters over .300 with Justin Thomas leading the way at .339, as the team is hitting .244 for the season. Left-hander David Hafer will get the start on the mound for the seventh time this season, having worked to a 5.10 ERA through eight overall appearances. Head coach Barry Davis is in his 10th season at the helm of the program and won MAAC Coach of the Year in 2013.
Rider used nine different pitchers to win last season’s matchup, 9-3, at Sonny Pittaro Field. Rutgers won the last meeting at Bainton Field, 5-0, in 2012 and leads the all-time series, 38-25.
Rutgers head coach Joe Litterio will make his first trip back to Staten Island, N.Y., after having served as the leader of the Seahawks from 2000-11. He is the winningest coach in school history at 240 victories. Wagner (11-23, 5-3) most recently won its series versus NJIT despite dropping the opener. Nick Mascelli leads the offense at .304, with the team hitting .236 overall. Left-hander Nick DiLeo is scheduled to make his first career start against RU, but has pitched to a 6.00 ERA in four relief outings. Jim Carone is in his third season as head coach, as the team competes in the Northeast Conference.
Rutgers scored seven runs in the first four innings on the way to defeating Wagner, 9-5, last season at Bainton Field. The Scarlet Knights lead the all-time series, 19-2-2. The teams last met at Wagner back in 2009, with RU winning, 5-1.
Rutgers, sitting at third in the American Athletic Conference standings, will travel to first-place UCF for a three-game series starting Friday in Orlando. It will be the eighth away weekend this season for the Scarlet Knights.