It took Rutgers just three batters to get on the scoreboard in the top of the first, as Graig Badger (Union, NJ) reached on an infield error and Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ) walked to put runners on first and second. Third-spot hitter Jeff Frazier (Toms River, NJ) then hammered a 2-1 offering into the left-field corner for his first double of the season, plating Badger, while Vinny Esposito (Middletown, NJ) delivered Wolski with a sac fly to left, extending the lead to 2-0.
The Yellow Jackets closed the gap to 2-1 in the bottom of the first and the score remained that way into the fifth, when Rutgers plated an additional run.
In the fifth, Nick Cerulo (Woodbridge, NJ) led off with an infield single and moved over to second on a perfectly-executed sacrifice by Jason Grover (Montgomery, NJ). Badger then hammered a single through the left side to plate Cerulo for the 3-1 lead. In the sixth, RU scored two more to take its 5-1 lead. Esposito led off with a triple to the base of the wall in left-center and scored on a throwing error by shortstop Tyler Greene on a groundball from Rich Canuso (Monroe, NJ). Canuso tweaked his knee rounding the bag and was replaced by Steve Normane (Pt. Pleasant, NJ), who scored on a one-out single to left by Alberto Vasquez (Jersey City, NJ).
The Yellow Jackets used an Eric Patterson RBI single in the sixth and a Matt Murton home run in the seventh to pull within two, 5-3, while a two-out RBI single in the eighth by Greene drove in their fourth run and made it a one-run game. Sean Atchison (Florham Park, NJ) relieved Parker and got the final out of the eighth to keep the score at 5-4 and strand Patterson at third.
In the ninth, Clifton Remole singled with one out against Chris Lillis (Fair Haven, NJ) and scored when Mike Nickeas delivered a two-out single to right-center against OJ DeChristofano (Pequannock, NJ), tying the game at 5-5 and setting the stage for Blackwood’s heroics.
Parker worked 7.2 innings, allowing 10 hits and four runs. He walked three and struck out five. DeChristofano (0-2) allowed two hits and one run in 2/3 of an inning to absorb the loss. RU collected eight hits, led by Frazier, who was 3-for-5 with two doubles.
Although it fell short in its bid to upset Georgia Tech, Rutgers will get another chance on Sunday, when the two teams close out the three-game series with a 1:30 p.m. contest.