MIAMI, FL – The Rutgers baseball team fought back from a 5-0 deficit to take a 10-5 lead in the top of the eighth, only to watch Florida International score eight runs in the bottom of the inning en route to a 13-10 win on a wild and controversial night that saw the two teams score a combined 18 runs over the final 2 ½ innings and a pair of RU assistants earn ejections." />
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FIU Rallies to Down Rutgers, 13-10, in Wild, Exciting Contest
  • Posted on March 16, 2004 12:00:00 AM
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  • MIAMI, FL – The Rutgers baseball team fought back from a 5-0 deficit to take a 10-5 lead in the top of the eighth, only to watch Florida International score eight runs in the bottom of the inning en route to a 13-10 win on a wild and controversial night that saw the two teams score a combined 18 runs over the final 2 ½ innings and a pair of RU assistants earn ejections. With the loss, RU’s fifth in the row, the Scarlet Knights fall to 4-9, while FIU improves to 12-14.

    FIU was trailing 10-9 with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth and Michael Lopez facing Jeff Grose (Iselin, NJ) in his first pitching appearance in more than a year. Grose got ahead in the count, 0-2, and induced a weak groundball towards first, which he fielded cleanly and promptly tagged Lopez to seemingly end the inning. As the RU players ran off the field, first base umpire Michael Booker ruled that the ball hit Lopez in the batter’s box, giving him a second life. Following an argument in which pitching coach Tom Baxter was ejected, Lopez fouled off three-straight offerings from Grose and lofted a grand slam down the line in right, giving the Golden Panthers a 13-10 lead.

    FIU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on an inside-the-park home run by Yahmed Yema. A leadoff, infield single by Dennis Diaz preceded back-to-back strikeouts but Yema hammered a deep fly ball to centerfield, which one-hopped the wall. Centerfielder Nick Cerulo (Woodbridge, NJ) gave chase and crashed into the wall, injuring his shoulder as Yema raced around the bases. In the fourth, an error in center by Johnny Defendis (Staten Island, NY) led to three unearned runs, extending the Golden Panther lead to 5-0.

    After six scoreless innings, Rutgers finally broke through in the seventh against FIU starter Jon Banke. Dave Williams (Franklin, NJ) led off with a single through the left side and, with one away, Jason Grover (Montgomery, NJ), Graig Badger (Union, NJ) and Grose delivered three-straight singles, cutting the gap to 5-2. A single by Jeff Frazier (Toms River, NJ), following a pitching change, loaded the bases for Colin Gaynor (Toms River, NJ), who fouled off four-straight two-strike pitches before driving in two runs with a single to left, cutting the lead to 5-4. Gaynor then stole second, setting the stage for Rich Canuso (Monroe, NJ), who bombed a two-strike, two-run double to the wall in center field, scoring Frazier and Gaynor and giving RU a 6-5 lead.

    FIU loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, but failed to score. After evening the count at 2-2 against RU reliever Matt Pustay (Hamilton, NJ), Yema drilled a line drive destined for left field, but Cory Rodriguez (Bridgewater, NJ) snared the line drive to end the inning and keep RU’s one-run lead intact.

    Things grew interesting in the top of the eighth. Rodriguez blooped a single down the line in right and moved over to second when Grover’s sacrifice bunt attempt was mishandled. With runners on first and second, Badger dropped down a sacrifice attempt, but made contact with the ball on his way to first base, leading to an argument between the home plate umpire and third base coach Glen Gardner. Gardner was promptly ejected and an ensuing strikeout by Grose produced the second out. Frazier strode to the plate and drilled a mammoth, two-run home run to left-center to increase the lead to 9-5 while, three pitches later, Defendis homered to right-center, staking RU to its 10-5 lead.

    Rutgers had 13 hits in the game, led by Canuso, who was 3-for-5 with two RBI and Frazier, who drove in three runs in a 2-for-5 night. Junior Tom Malafronte (Somerville, NJ), making his first start of the season, pitched well, allowing two earned runs in 6.2 innings of work.

    RU heads to Boca Raton on Wednesday to face No. 15 Florida Atlantic at 7:00 p.m.

                                  ** 2004 RUTGERS BASEBALL **
                                    Rutgers at Florida Int'l
                          Mar 16, 2004 at Miami, FL (University Park)
    
    Rutgers 10 (4-9)                              Florida Int'l 13 (12-14)
    
    Player                      AB  R  H BI       Player                      AB  R  H BI
    ---------------------------------------       ---------------------------------------
    BADGER, Graig 2b...........  6  1  1  1       D. Diaz cf.................  4  1  2  3
    GROSE, Jeff dh/p...........  4  1  1  1       PJ Lehmann 2b..............  4  1  2  0
    FRAZIER, Jeff rf...........  5  2  2  3       C. Jacobs c................  3  1  0  0
    DEFENDIS, Johnny lf/cf.....  5  1  1  1       Y. Yema rf.................  5  2  2  2
    GAYNOR, Colin c............  3  1  1  2       M. Lopez 1b................  4  2  1  4
    CANUSO, Rich 1b............  5  0  3  2       J. Skellengr dh............  5  2  3  2
    CERULO, Nick cf............  0  0  0  0       F. Alvarez lf..............  2  1  1  0
     WILLIAMS, David lf........  5  1  2  0        B. Aragon lf..............  0  1  0  0
    QUERNS, Tim 3b.............  2  0  0  0       E. Davila ss...............  2  1  0  0
     RODRIGUEZ, Cory ph/3b.....  2  1  1  0        M. Suarez ph..............  1  1  1  0
    GROVER, Jason ss...........  3  2  1  0        J. Bacon 3b...............  0  0  0  0
    MALAFRONTE, Tom p..........  0  0  0  0       D. San Juan 3b/ss..........  2  0  0  1
     PUSTAY, Matt p............  0  0  0  0       J. Banke p.................  0  0  0  0
     ACAMPORA, Bobby p.........  0  0  0  0        M. Worrell p..............  0  0  0  0
                                                   L. Calderon p.............  0  0  0  0
                                                   D. Hernandez p............  0  0  0  0
    Totals..................... 40 10 13 10       Totals..................... 32 13 12 12
    
    Score by Innings                    R  H  E
    -------------------------------------------
    Rutgers............. 000 000 640 - 10 13  3
    Florida Int'l....... 200 300 08X - 13 12  3
    -------------------------------------------
    
    E - Badger; Defendis; Pustay; E. Davila; D. San Juan; L. Calderon. DP - Rutgers 2;
    Florida Intl 2. LOB - Rutgers 9; Florida Intl 5. 2B - Canuso 2; J. Skellengr 2. 3B -
    D. Diaz. HR - Frazier(4); Defendis(1); Y. Yema; M. Lopez; J. Skellengr. HBP - C.
    Jacobs; M. Lopez; B. Aragon; E. Davila; D. San Juan. SH - Grover. SF - D. Diaz; D.
    San Juan. SB - Gaynor; D. Diaz. CS - Grose; Y. Yema.
    
    Rutgers                        IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    MALAFRONTE, Tom ...........   6.2  9  5  2  2  4   0  0  2  0   25 30   5  7
    PUSTAY, Matt ..............   0.1  1  3  3  0  0   0  0  2  0    2  4   1  0
    ACAMPORA, Bobby ...........   0.2  1  1  0  0  0   1  0  0  0    2  3   2  0
    GROSE, Jeff  L,0-1.........   0.1  1  4  0  1  1   0  0  1  0    3  5   0  0
    
    Florida Int'l                  IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    J. Banke ..................   6.1  7  4  4  3  5   0  0  0  0   26 29   5  7
    M. Worrell ................   0.1  3  2  2  0  0   0  0  0  0    4  4   1  0
    L. Calderon  W,1-0.........   1.1  3  4  0  1  2   0  0  0  0    7  9   0  2
    D. Hernandez  S,1..........   1.0  0  0  0  1  1   0  0  0  0    3  4   0  2
    
    WP - Acampora. HBP - by Malafronte (D. San Juan); by Malafronte (E. Davila); by Pustay
    (M. Lopez); by Pustay (B. Aragon); by Grose (C. Jacobs).
    
    Strikeouts - Grose; Frazier; Williams 2; Querns 2; Rodriguez; Grover; PJ Lehmann; C.
    Jacobs; Y. Yema; J. Skellengr 2. Walks - Grose; Gaynor 2; Rodriguez; Grover; PJ
    Lehmann; C. Jacobs; F. Alvarez.
    
    Umpires - HP: Thomas Moscaritolo  1B: Michael Brooker  3B: Bill Grainger
    Start: 7:00 pm   Time: 3:16   Attendance: 232
    
    Game notes:
    ID-254636
    Pustay faced 3 batters in the 8th.
    Game: FIU-1
    
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