BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Rutgers baseball team was held to just five hits against Louisville as the third-seeded Cardinals defeated the second-seeded Scarlet Knights, 8-1, Wednesday evening in the second round of the BIG EAST Championship at KeySpan Park.
Rutgers (37-19) moves on to face sixth-seeded Villanova, who rebounded from a first-round loss to defeat Notre Dame 3-2 on Wednesday. The teams will face off in an elimination game tomorrow at 4:00 p.m.
Louisville (40-18) took an early lead when the Cardinals' Isaiah Howes hit an RBI double to the gap in left center field for the 1-0 advantage in the first.
That lead was short-lived, however, as Rutgers came right back with a run in the bottom of the first. Junior All-American Todd Frazier (Toms River, N.J.) singled to leadoff the frame and Ryan Hill (Hillsdale, N.J.) followed a Mike Bionde (Pompton Plains, N.J.) walk with an RBI single to center (on his 14th pitch of the at bat) to score Frazier for the tying run. The Scarlet Knights threatened for more in the frame with runners at the corners and nobody out, but Louisville caught the Scarlet Knights' double-steal attempt, picking off the lead runner Bionde at third base. The Cardinals caught Hill stealing later in the frame to end the inning, preventing any further damage.
Daniel Burton broke the tie with a home run to leadoff the fourth inning for the Cardinals. Louisville then built a cushion with a two-out rally in the sixth as Chris Cates hit an RBI single to right field and Boomer Whiting hit a two-run home run over the left-field fence to make it 5-1, ending starter Casey Gaynor's (Toms River, N.J.) day.
Louisvilleextended its lead to 8-1 with three runs in the ninth. Rutgers loaded the bases with one out in the ninth but the Cardinals called on their closer Trystan Magnuson for two big strikeouts to seal the victory.
Gaynor finished the day with five runs on eight hits and four strikeouts in 5.2 innings, moving to 4-3 on the year. Louisville starter Justin Marks, the BIG EAST's Rookie of the Year, worked six solid innings for the Cardinals, allowing one run on five hits with a pair of strikeouts to move to 7-2 on the year.
Wednesday's game marked the sixth-straight victory for Louisville over Rutgers in the last two seasons.
Five of the top six batters in the Rutgers lineup each had a hit to account for the Scarlet Knights' hits in the contest. Hill earned his 115th career walk to tie Jeff Grose (2003-06) for fifth place on the school's all-time walk list.