Casey Gaynor pitched his fifth complete game of his career.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 2, 2010) – Senior Casey Gaynor (Toms River, N.J.) pitched a complete game gem without surrendering an earned run to lead the Rutgers baseball team to its eighth-straight victory with a 6-1 win over No. 24 Pittsburgh Friday afternoon in front of 812 fans at Bainton Field.
RU improved to 14-10 overall and a perfect 5-0 in the BIG EAST. The first-place Scarlet Knights are the lone undefeated team in league play. The victory is Rutgers’ 13th in the last 15 contests. RU is off to its best start since 2005 and best league start since 2000. The eight-game winning streak is tied for the longest since 2007.
Gaynor went the distance with no earned runs allowed on eight hits and a strikeout in the 103-pitch gem to earn the win and improve to 3-3. He induced three groundball double plays and the Scarlet Knights’ defense recorded a fourth on a line drive catch and tag at first base by Matthews.
The Panthers (18-6, 3-2 BIG EAST) got their only run across in the second inning where Kevan Smith led off the frame with a double to left field and moved to third with two outs later in the frame before an errant throw on an inning-ending ground ball allowed him to score. Gaynor rebounded by retiring the next batter to get out of the frame with just the one run allowed.
The Scarlet Knight allowed just two runners to advance into scoring position over the final seven innings en route to his fourth career complete game.
A combination of small ball and heads up base running led to Rutgers’ first run of the game in the fifth. Senior Jarred Jimenez (Monroe, N.J.) took the first pitch of the frame to the gap in left-center field for a single and the Scarlet Knight was sacrificed over to second. On the next play, senior Dan Betteridge (Sewell, N.J.) delivered a ball to deep center field for an out but Jimenez advanced to third and was waved around toward home where he arrived safely on the play to tie it up.
RU put together a two-out rally in the sixth to take the lead for good. Freshman Steve Nyisztor (Toms River, N.J.) got the rally started with a double to left field and moved over to third on a wild pitch. A ball off the bat of Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.) was mishandled as Nyisztor raced home for the go-ahead run. With Matthews taking off on the pitch, senior Jayson Hernandez (Belmar, N.J.) drilled a ball down the left-field line and the Scarlet Knight scored all the way from first on the play to make it 3-1.
RU put a pair of runners on with one out in the seventh off a Michael Lang (Dumont, N.J.) single and a Ryan Kapp (Toms River, N.J.) four-pitch walk to chase Pitt starter Matt Iannazzo out of the contest. Nyisztor greeted newly-inserted Jeff Kelly with a single to right field to plate Lang. A Nyisztor steal put a pair of runners in scoring position and, with first base open, the Panthers chose to intentionally walk the clean-up hitter Matthews. Hernandez came through again, delivering a ball to right field for a run-producing out as Kapp came home on the play. A ground ball from Jimenez was mishandled by the third baseman, resulting in a third run in the frame as the Scarlet Knights extended their lead to 6-1.
Meanwhile, Gaynor continued to cruise, retiring six of the final eight batters he faced en route to the complete-game win.
RU handed Iannazzo (4-1) his first loss of the season. The Panther worked 6.1 innings with three earned runs allowed (five total) on six hits and four strikeouts.
Nyisztor and Lang led the Scarlet Knights’ eight-hit attack with two hits apiece while Hernandez drove in two runs.
Rutgers and Pittsburgh will conclude the series with a 1 p.m. game tomorrow as RU eyes the series sweep at Bainton Field. Freshman lefty Dan O’Neill (Garfield, N.J.) will be on the mound for the Scarlet Knights against senior righty Nathan Hood for the Panthers.