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Baseball Walks Off in Extras on Fred Hill Day, 5-4
Home winning streak extended on victory over USF in 12 innings
  • Posted on May 10, 2014 7:16:16 PM
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  • Jim O'Connor
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    Win-Young (2-4) • Loss-Thomas (0-2) • Save-None • T-3:31 • A-758 • Bainton Field


    PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 10, 2014) – In a memorable day at Bainton Field, Rutgers baseball tied the game versus USF in the ninth and won on a walk-off single by senior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) in the 12th to claim a 5-4 victory Saturday. It extended the season-best winning streak to seven games and the home streak to 12, also clinching the series.

    Prior to the game, the program honored legendary coach Fred Hill with a ceremony in the midst of family, alums and friends. The festivities included speeches from director of operations Glen Gardner, head coach Joe Litterio and Hill. Hill’s No. 24 was officially retired on the right field wall and he threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

    The season-high crowd of 758 then witnessed a tight conference game that swung back-and-forth, lasted 12 innings and took three hours and 31 minutes. RU is now 26-22 overall, 11-8 in the American and 18-4 at home.

    Down 4-2 entering the bottom of the ninth, Favatella roped a double to the left-center gap to start the tying rally. The Bulls then called to the bullpen, with senior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) and junior Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) drawing walks to load the bases with no outs. Another pitching changed ensued and senior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) grounded a slow ball up the middle for an RBI fielder’s choice, but more importantly moving the tying run to third with one down. Senior Lou Clemente (Union, N.J.) next stepped up and laced a solid RBI single to right to chase home O’Grady, knotting the game at four. The game went to extra innings on a double play as the result of the next at bat.

    Junior Jon Young (Old Bridge, N.J.) entered in the top of the 10th inning and stranded a runner in scoring position to give the offense a chance to end it. However, another twin killing with bases loaded extended the game.

    Then in the 12th with two outs and no runners on base, junior Michael Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) kept the inning alive with a single up the middle and moved up on a wild pitch. Freshman Mike Carter (Bloomfield, N.J.) followed with a walk to force another call to the bullpen. Favatella worked ahead in the count two balls and laced a single to left, as Zavala slid in safely on a close play at the plate. It was the third career game-ending hit for Favatella and third walk-off hit for RU this season.

    Young (2-4) picked up his second win of the season with 2.2 scoreless frames on the mound, while freshman Colin Bohnert (West Caldwell, N.J.) worked 1.1 without a run as well. Freshman Gaby Rosa (Perth Amboy, N.J.) pitched seven-plus innings for a no-decision, surrendering two unearned runs in the outing.

    Offensively, Favatella led the way by going 3-for-5 with two runs, two doubles and the game-winning hit. His output for the day allowed him to pass Todd Frazier for third in school history with 243 hits. O’Grady also had two hits and is now eighth in the record books with 222 during his career.

    Each team scored in the first inning to get the game started. The Bulls (25-25, 10-13) jumped up on a wild pitch, with RU answering right away. Carter led off with a walk and advanced to third on a single through the left side by O’Grady. Zarrillo then hit an RBI fielder’s choice to bring home Carter.

    Rutgers took its first lead of the game in the third inning. Favatella doubled with two outs and immediately scored on a RBI single by O’Grady, making it 2-1.

    The game stayed that way through the middle innings, as Rosa and USF starter Casey Mulholland traded zeroes on the board with effective pitching. However, the Bulls scored three unearned runs in the top of the eighth to take a 4-2 advantage. The rally started with a triple, but the runner was cut down at home on a grounder to Sweeney at shortstop that was tossed on a bounce to Zavala for the out. An error followed, though, to extend the frame and permitted the tying and go-ahead runs to score.

    Mulholland attempted to complete the game, but Favatella started the tying rally in the bottom of the ninth to dip into the USF bullpen. It was the second win for the Scarlet Knights when trailing after eight innings this season, also happening in a 4-3 victory versus Hartford April 11.

    Nolan Thomas (0-2) took the loss after his inherited runner scored the winning run. The Bulls recorded 11 hits at the plate, as it was their sixth consecutive defeat at Bainton Field.

    Rutgers will look to pick up its third sweep of the season in the series finale Sunday at noon. The game will be broadcast live on RVision and WRSU. Redshirt freshman Kevin Baxter (Waterford, N.J.) will make the start on the mound for the Scarlet Knights.

    The program will honor and recognize its six seniors in a ceremony scheduled to being at 11:40 a.m.

    NOTES
    Favatella has started the last 193 games, the fourth-longest active streak in the nation … RU is 24-5 this season when holding the opponent to five runs or less and 19-3 when limiting teams to four runs or less … the team has scored 48 runs in the first inning, the most of any frame … O’Grady has reached base safely in each of the last 21 games, while Carter has a streak of 19 games … this is the longest home winning streak since winning 17 consecutively from the last game of 2003 season and into 2004 …  RU is now 3-1 in extra-inning games this year … the defense committed four errors for the second time, but is now 2-0 in those games … the game-time temperature was 81 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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