PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Freshman Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.) drove in three runs and scored the game winner to lead the Rutgers baseball team to a 4-3, come-from-behind victory over Rider Tuesday afternoon at Bainton Field.
Matthews finished the day 3-for-4 from the plate. He drove in a pair of two-out runs in the first and sixth and followed another RBI in the eighth with the go-ahead score in the frame to complete Rutgers' (6-12) comeback victory over Rider (8-9).
After Rider loaded the bases and scored with two outs in the first, Rutgers countered with a run of its own in the bottom half of the opening inning. The Scarlet Knights used a two-out rally to score its first run when Vinnie Sangemino (Nutley, N.J.) drew a walk and moved over to third on a Jon Gossard (Harrington Park, N.J.) single through the hole in the right side. Matthews, the Scarlet Knights' No. 5 hitter, followed with a line-drive single to the opposite field to score Sangemino.
After letting up the run in the first, Rutgers starter Kyle Bradley (Howell, N.J.) settled down with a 1-2-3 frame in the second and fifth innings. He put a pair of runners on with one out in the sixth and handed the ball over to reliever Kevin Lillis (Fair Haven, N.J.). After Lillis greeted his first batter with a strikeout, Rider loaded the bases on an infield error. The Scarlet Knight hurler was one strike away from getting out of the inning on two separate occasions with full counts to both Mo Williams and Sean Olsen of the Broncs. Both were issued bases-loaded walks, however, to put Rider up 3-1.
As it did in the first, the Scarlet Knights countered with another two-out RBI single from Matthews in the sixth to score Gossard, who reached on a double to the gap in right-center field. The Scarlet Knights threatened for more with the bases loaded later in the inning, but Rider called on Ryan Miller to get the Broncs out of the jam with an inning-ending foul out.
Down 3-2, Matthews and Gossard teamed up again in the eighth as Gossard lined a one-out single into center field and Matthews ripped a ball down the right-field line for a triple to score pinch runner Joey Ianiero (Bloomsburg, Pa.) for the tying run. One out later, Jarred Jimenez (Monroe, N.J.) took a 2-2 offering from Miller to center field for a line-drive single to score Matthews and put the Scarlet Knights on top for the first time in the game.
Closer Jason Downey (Ballston Lake, N.Y.), who replaced Lillis to get a big strikeout to end the seventh for Rider, worked out of a jam in the ninth. With a runner on third and one out, the RU hurler registered his second strikeout and then got John Ralston to pop out in foul territory to end the game for his first win of the season.
Downey improved to 1-0 with a pair of strikeouts and one hit in 1.1 scoreless innings, while Miller (0-1) was saddled with the loss for the Broncs with two runs on three hits and three strikeouts in two innings of relief work.
Rutgers continues its homestand with another 3:30 p.m. game at Bainton Field tomorrow as the Scarlet Knights welcome Princeton to Piscataway.