Rutgers put together its seven-run rally in the top of the eighth, as Jamell Rosario (Vineland, NJ) opened the inning with a pinch-hit double and moved to third on a pinch-hit infield single by Cory Rodriguez (Bridgewater, NJ). After a walk to pinch-hitter Steve Hook (Langhorne, PA), two runs scored on an infield throwing error and the third crossed on an RBI single to center by Colin Gaynor (Toms River, NJ), who entered as a defensive replacement an inning earlier. After a strikeout, Graig Badger (Union, NJ) and Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ), two of four starters who remained in the game, drilled back-to-back singles to drive in three more runs. Rodriguez then followed with an RBI groundout to complete the scoring. In all, Rutgers sent 13 hitters to the plate in the inning and collected seven hits, two walks and seven runs.
In the ninth, Gaynor singled through the left side and Alberto Vasquez (Jersey City, NJ), also in a pinch-hit role, reached on an infield single to put the tying run on base. After a groundout moved both runners into scoring position, Ramirez struck out Nick Cerulo (Woodbridge, NJ) to end the game.
Rutgers scored once in the first when Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ) doubled with one out and scored from second on a sacrifice fly to deep right-center by Jeff Frazier (Toms River, NJ). Frazier’s fly ball was tracked down on the warning track by Brian Aragon, who paused before throwing the relay back to second baseman Dennis Diaz. Alertly, third-base coach Glen Gardner waved Wolski around third and he scored with ease when Diaz fumbled the transfer. FIU, however, scored twice in the bottom of the first on a groundout and a wild pitch to take a 2-1 lead.
In the third, RU tied the game at 2-2 on a perfectly-executed double steal by Badger and Wolski. FIU came right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring five runs with two outs. A trio of singles produced the first run, while Jimmy Bacon’s two-run triple and Fernie Alvarez’s two-run blast finished the scoring.
Rutgers fought back with a single run in the top of the fourth, when Mike Bionde (Pompton Plains, NJ) singled through the right side, scoring Jeff Grose (Iselin, NJ), who reached on a walk.
Trailing 7-3, the Scarlet Knights yielded five more runs in the seventh, spoiling a solid relief outing from freshman lefty Matt Pustay (Hamilton, NJ). Pustay pitched three shutout innings, before tiring in the seventh. He gave way to Aaron Kalb (Middletown, NJ), who gave up four runs in just 2/3 of an inning. Seemingly out of the game, Rutgers came roaring back in the top of the next inning to make things interesting.
Tom Malafronte (Somerville, NJ) started for Rutgers but lasted just three innings. Malafronte (1-1) allowed seven runs, six hits and four walks. Pustay worked 3.0 innings in his collegiate debut, allowing just three hits and one run. He also struck out two. Rutgers, with 11 hits, was led by Gaynor and Rosario (2-for-2), while Wolski was 2-for-4.
Rutgers returns to action tomorrow, when it faces No. 22 Florida Atlantic at 7:00 p.m. in Boca Raton, FL. Freshman Jim Jansen (Pascack Valley, NJ) will make his first collegiate start.