PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 28, 2014) – Rutgers baseball will look to bounce back with two midweek games before returning to conference play. The Scarlet Knights will host Villanova Tuesday (3:30 p.m.) at Bainton Field before traveling to Monmouth Wednesday (3 p.m.).
Game 42: Tuesday, April 29
First Pitch: 3:30 p.m.
Rutgers Starter: LHP Ryan Fleming (2-0, 6.89)
Villanova Starter: TBA
Live Stats: GameTracker
Game 43: Wednesday, April 30
First Pitch: 3 p.m.
Rutgers Starter: TBA
Monmouth Starter: TBA
Live Stats: NeuLion
The Scarlet Knights (19-22, 6-8) most recently dropped three conference games at first-place UCF over the weekend. Senior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) led RU with a .615 on-base percentage for the series and is hitting 13-for-31 (.419) over his last 10 games to take over the team batting lead at .358. On the mound, sophomore Howie Brey (Middletown, N.J.) pitched his first career complete game in the opener, while redshirt freshman Max Herrmann (Rutherford, N.J.) tossed three innings without an earned run out of the bullpen in game two. Herrmann has allowed just two earned runs over his last seven appearances and 16.2 innings (1.08 ERA).
Freshman Ryan Fleming (Churchville, Pa.) will make his ninth start of the season against Villanova. The left-hander has wins over Fordham and Lafayette, both home appearances. The Scarlet Knights are 11-4 overall in home games this season.
A freshman pitcher has started 31 games this season and freshmen have accounted for 70 percent of innings pitched (246.1) ... senior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) has started the last 186 games, the fourth-longest active streak in the nation … Favatella (232, fourth) and classmate Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) (212, 11th) have both eclipsed 200 career hits this season and are among the all-time leader in hits in school history … the team has connected for 19 triples this season (sixth-most nationally), sixth-most in a season in school history through only 38 games … RU is 18-5 this season when holding the opponent to five runs or less and 15-3 when limiting teams to four runs or less … RU is fourth in the nation with 31 sacrifice flies, two off the leader … 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).
The Wildcats (12-28, 3-9 BIG EAST) are members of the new BIG EAST Conference and a former conference rival of Rutgers. Max Beermann leads the hitters with a .303 average, while Todd Czinege and Connor Jones have each blasted four home runs. The team is hitting .236 overall and has pitched to a 5.37 ERA. Villanova most recently dropped three games at Seton Hall over the weekend.
Rutgers has taken the last six games over Villanova, including a three-game sweep in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., last season. The pitching staff held the Wildcats to four runs in the series. In 2012, RU swept the series at Bainton Field in the last weekend of the regular season. The Scarlet Knights scored 10 runs in the seventh inning to win the finale. Rutgers leads the all-time series, 39-34.
The Hawks (15-20, 6-7 NEC) are coming off a three-game non-conference sweep against Temple. The team will first travel to Hofstra for a game Tuesday before hosting the Scarlet Knights. Craig Sweeney leads the offense with a .328 batting average and three home runs. Monmouth is hitting .263 and pitching to a 3.99 ERA this year.
Rutgers defeated Monmouth last season at Bainton Field, 7-6, and leads the all-time series, 26-7. RU won 8-1 in its last trip to West Long Branch N.J., in 2012.
RU will host Temple in a three-game series at Bainton Field starting Friday. The team will shave their heads after the series finale to benefit the Vs. Cancer Foundation and awareness for pediatric cancer.