Trailing 6-4 heading into the ninth, Rutgers made it interesting, as Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ) singled and Jeff Frazier (Toms River, NJ) walked to put runners on first and second with one out. After a pitching change, a wild pitch pushed the runners into scoring position, but Vinny Esposito (Middletown, NJ) struck out against Donny Borne for the second out. MTSU then brought in its closer, Chris Mobley, to face Canuso, who delivered a 2-2 single to right field, scoring pinch-runner Jeff Grose (Iselin, NJ) and Frazier.
Rutgers scored its first run in the second inning, just as it did the previous day vs. Vanderbilt, as Rich Canuso (Monroe, NJ) led off with a sharp single to short and advanced to second when the late throw skipped into the Blue Raider dugout. After a sacrifice bunt from Nick Cerulo (Woodbrige, NJ), Canuso scored on a groundball to short from Alberto Vasquez (Jersey City, NJ). In the bottom of the inning, MTSU used back-to-back doubles to tie the game at 1-1.
RU reclaimed the lead in the top of the third. Graig Badger (Union, NJ) singled sharply to center to lead off the inning and Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ) followed with a double to the gap in right-center. Jeff Frazier (Toms River, NJ) then singled to shallow center, plating Badger, while Wolski was called out on a close play at the plate. Cerulo led off the third with an infield single and scored when a line drive to left by Johnny Defendis (Staten Island, NY) was misplayed into a two-base error, extending the lead to 3-1.
MTSU added two of its own in the fourth to tie the game at 3-3, using an infield error by Vinny Esposito (Middletown, NJ) and an RBI single to plate two runs. It added another in the fifth, on Archer’s first home run, to claim its first lead of the game, 4-3.
In the top of the seventh, the Scarlet Knights tied the game at 4-4 when Badger led off with a walk, moved to second on a groundout by Wolski and scored on a two-out single to right by Esposito. The Blue Raiders, however, snapped the tie with two runs in the bottom of the seventh, sparked by the two-out, two-run single from Carroll that signaled the end of the day for RU starter Shaun Parker (Westampton, NJ). Freshman OJ DeChristofano (Pequannock, NJ) induced a bases-loaded popup to avoid further damage.
Parker worked 6.2 innings, allowed 11 hits and six runs (five earned). He walked two and struck out three. DeChristofano (0-1) allowed three hits and one run in 1.1 innings. The first three hitters in the RU lineup – Badger, Wolski and Frazier – accounted for six of the team’s 12 hits, while Cansuo and Defendis, both making their first starts of the season, added two each. Canuso, Defendis and Mike Bionde (Pompton Plains, NJ) all made their first starts of the season.
Rutgers’ visit to Nashville ends with a single game vs. Lipscomb tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. (CT). BOX SCORE