Le Noir, pinch-hitting against RU reliever Aaron Kalb (Middletown, NJ), drove a three-run home run to center field, opening a 5-2 lead in the fifth. Kalb walked the inning’s leadoff hitter, Brent Sollenberger and, after a strikeout, allowed a single to Pedro Pena, which set the stage for Le Noir.
The Monarchs struck first, pushing across a single run in the first, without a hit, on a walk, a passed ball, a groundout and a wild pitch. In the top of the second, however, Rutgers tied the game at 1-1 when Vinny Esposito (Middletown, NJ) led off with a double to the base of the fence in left-center, moved over to third on a groundout by Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ) and scored on a hit-and-run single by Alberto Vaqsuez (Jersey City, NJ).
The score remained tied into the fourth, when ODU’s Evan Chipman walked, stole second and third on consecutive pitches and scored on a successful squeeze bunt by Jesse Schoendiest to give the Monarchs a 2-1 lead. As they did three innings earlier, RU rebounded to tie the game as Jason Grover (Montgomery, NJ) roped a one-out double to center and scored on a sharp single to right by Graig Badger (Union, NJ).
Shaun Parker (Westampton, NJ), the first junior college transfer to join the team since Ken Ulrich in 1999, started and pitched four innings, allowing six hits and two runs, both earned. Kalb (0-1) worked the fifth, allowing two hits, two walks and three runs. Esposito had two of the team’s five hits, while Grover added a double and Badger and Vasquez contributed RBI singles.
The two teams will reconvene at 12:00 noon on Sunday, one hour earlier than the originally-scheduled 1:00 start time, to complete today’s contest, while the third and final game of the series will begin shortly thereafter.