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Baseball Downs Rider, 6-4
Scarlet Knights extend winning streak to five
  • Posted on April 22, 2014 6:44:39 PM
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  • Kevin Baxter tossed six innings to earn his second win of the season.
    Ben Solomon
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    Win-Baxter (2-6) • Loss-Hafer (3-2) • Save-Young (8) • T-2:38 • A-109 • Bainton Field


    PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 22, 2014) – Rutgers baseball extended its winning streak to a season-best five games with a 6-4 victory over Rider Tuesday at Bainton Field. The game was the finale of a 13-game homestand for the Scarlet Knights (19-18), ending that stretch at 9-4 to improve to over .500 for the first time this year.

    Freshman Mike Carter (Bloomfield, N.J.) drove in three runs to pace the offense, while junior Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) reached three times with two RBIs. Senior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) went 2-for-3 and now leads the team in batting average at .351 for the season.

    On the mound, redshirt freshman Kevin Baxter (Waterford, N.J.) (2-6) earned the win with six innings pitched. The right-hander scattered seven hits and surrendered three earned runs in his 10th appearance and fifth start. Senior Charlie Lasky (Freehold, N.J.) worked two scoreless innings in setup relief, with junior Jon Young (Old Bridge, N.J.) nailing down his eighth save of the year in the ninth inning.

    The Broncs (11-23) manufactured runs in the first and third innings to jump up to a 2-0 lead. Both rallies included hits by Nick Richter and RBI groundouts by Nick Crescenzo.

    However, Rutgers battled back with four in the bottom of the third. With one out, freshman Chris Folinusz (Cranford, N.J.) and Sweeney both singled and moved into scoring position with aggressive baserunning. Folinusz then came home on a wild pitch and Sweeney followed in on an RBI groundout by Carter. Seniors Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) and Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) both walked to keep the inning going, as Zarrillo next stepped up and laced a two-run, two-out double to put the Scarlet Knights ahead.

    Rider added an unearned run in the fourth on a pair of errors, but RU quickly scored back in the bottom of the inning. Junior Michael Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) reached on an infield single with one out and advanced to second on a throwing error to start the situation. He moved up to third on a wild pitch and crossed the plate on an RBI single by Carter up the middle with two outs, making it 5-3.

    Both teams would also tally a run in the sixth. Tyler Kaiser hit an RBI triple for the Broncs, but Baxter stranded the tying run at third with a routine groundball and pop to the infield. Then in the bottom, Zavala drew a walk in a nine-pitch at bat and advanced to third on a single to right-center by Sweeney. Carter recorded his third RBI with a fielder’s choice to second that resulted in an error, as Zavala scored for the second time.

    The game would stay at 6-4 the rest of the way. Young allowed a leadoff single in the ninth, but next induced a double play up the middle to conclude an 11-pitch plate appearance. He notched a looking strikeout to end the game and now sits tied for fourth in school history with eight saves in a single season.

    David Hafer (3-2) took the loss for the visitors with four earned runs permitted over five innings. Richter led the Broncs with three hits and two runs.

    The Scarlet Knights will next hit the road for the first time since April 2 with a contest against Wagner at Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island, N.Y. It will be the first visit back for RU head coach Joe Litterio, who served as the leader of the Seahawks from 2000-11.

    NOTES
    Favatella has started the last 182 games dating back to his freshman season, the five-longest active streak in the nation … Carter increased his hitting streak to eight games … the last six wins for RU have ended with a save, as the team is up to 13 for the season (tied for fourth-most in a year in school history) … RU is 18-3 this season when holding the opponent to five runs or less and 15-1 when limiting teams to four runs or less … O’Grady (third base), Folinusz (catcher) and Clemente (first base) all made their first career start at their respective positions … RU now leads the all-time series over Rider, 39-25 … the game was moved up an hour due to the threat of rain and ended before any significant precipitation … the game-time temperature was 73 degrees.

    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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