DeLAND, Fla. – Rutgers scored three runs in the ninth inning to break a 5-5 tie and held on to defeat Iowa, 8-6 in the series opener Saturday afternoon at Conrad Park, near the campus of Stetson University. Iowa posted a 9-2 victory in the nightcap to earn the split. The Scarlet Knights (5-7) and Hawkeyes (4-7) will meet in the rubber game Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Tied at 5-5, entering the ninth inning of game one, Rutgers plated three runs, head-lined up senior Donny Callahan's (Sparta, N.J.) RBI double down the right-field line that produced the game-deciding run for RU.
Sophomore Dan Betteridge (Sewell, N.J.) opened the ninth with a single and moved into scoring position on a Hawkeye passed ball. He came within 90 feet of the go-ahead run after being sacrificed over. Sophomore Brett Garlick (Livingston, N.J.) scored Betteridge with a single to center field to put the Scarlet Knights on top, 6-5. Garlick stole second to move into scoring position and senior Callahan's double drove him home. A third run scored when freshman Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.) hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to center field. The Scarlet Knights left the bases loaded in the frame, but not before platting three runs to build an 8-5 advantage.
Iowa loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth and got a run across on a single against newly-inserted Jason Downey (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) before the closer registered a pair of strikeouts. Second baseman Joey Ianiero (Bloomsburg, Pa.) ended the threat with a great stop on a hard-hit grounder to get the game-ending put out at second base.
Early on, Rutgers erased a 2-0 deficit with a three-run second inning thanks to RBI singles from Vic Cegles (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Callahan.
A well-executed double-steal with runners on the corners plated a run with two outs in the third, but Iowa countered with a score of their own in the bottom half of the frame. The Scarlet Knights used an RBI double to right field off the bat of Tom Edwards (West Caldwell, N.J.) to plate a run in the fourth as the Scarlet Knights took a 5-3 lead.
The Hawkeyes came right back, however, scoring a pair of runs in their side of the fourth to tie it up at 5-5 and four scoreless frames ensued, setting up the ninth-inning dramatics.
Rutgers starter Steve Holt (Toms River, N.J.) had his third no-decision of the season with five runs on nine hits and a strikeout in 3.2 innings of work. The duo of Kyle Bradley (Howell, N.J.) and Kevin Lillis (Fair Haven, N.J.) combined for 4.1 innings of scoreless middle relief. Lillis picked up the win to move to 2-0 on the season, while Downey earned his second save of the year.
The Hawkeyes banged out 15 hits and scored nine runs to down the Scarlet Knights, 9-2, in the nightcap of Saturday's double-header. After allowing seven runs combined in three previous appearances, starter Casey Gaynor (Toms River, N.J.) surrendered six on Saturday in six innings of work to fall to 1-3. The sophomore struck out six to improve his BIG EAST-leading strikeout total to 32 on the season.
Rutgers scored both of its runs on a two-out, two-run single from Betteridge in the fourth to plate.
Iowa standout Caleb Curry lead the Hawkeyes with a 3-for-5 game in the nightcap, driving in three runs and scoring another, while Iowa starter Michael Jacobs gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits in seven innings for the win to improve to 2-2.
Rutgers and Iowa will conclude the series with a 1:00 p.m. game tomorrow at Conrad Park. Junior righty Matt Giannini (Millington, N.J.) will be on the mound for the Scarlet Knights against junior righty Nick Erdman for the Hawkeyes.