EVANSTON, Ill. – Rutgers baseball rallied to put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position in the ninth, but fell short in a 5-4 loss to Northwestern in the nightcap of a doubleheader Friday at Miller Park. The Scarlet Knights finished the season playing eight conference games in eight days, including three twin bills in that span. In addition, the team played its last five league contests on the road over four days and eight of the last 11 away from home.
Making his first collegiate start, senior Colin Bohnert (0-1) pitched a career-high 5.2 innings in his final appearance as a Scarlet Knight. The right-hander did not allow a baserunner, other than an error, until the fifth inning when a one-out single broke up the no-hitter. He ended up with four strikeouts before senior Ryan Fleming finished off the last 2.1 innings. In his team-leading 26th game of the season, tied for ninth-most in a year in program history, the left-hander fanned five and did not allow a run.
At the plate, redshirt freshman Tommy Genuario made his first start and picked up two hits with a walk, a run and an RBI. Senior Christian Campbell knocked in two with a double, while classmate Mike Carter also collected a hit in his final at bat. The Scarlet Knights out-hit the Wildcats, 7-6, as sophomore Luke Bowerbank notched an RBI single for the first run.
A misplayed fly ball coupled with a sacrifice fly allowed Northwestern (24-28, 13-11) to take the lead in the bottom of the second. After that, Rutgers replied with one in the third. Sophomore Carmen Sclafani beat out a ball in the infield and advanced when Genuario sliced a single through the right side. That brought up Bowerbank, who connected for a hit to drive home Sclafani.
Bohnert cruised from there by retiring nine-straight hitters after the error and stranding a runner at second in the fifth.
In the sixth, the home team plated four runs with two down to jump ahead, 5-1. Fleming kept it there to keep the team within striking distance in the late innings.
RU rallied for two in the eighth to make it a two-run game. Genuario worked a walk, but the next two went down before Carter extended the inning with a single. Campbell then drilled a two-run double to left-center for his 36th career two-bagger.
Fleming faced a runner at third and no outs in the eighth, but struck out two and caught the runner attempting to steal home to keep it 5-3. Junior Chris Folinusz put the ball in play and reached as the leadoff hitter and was pinch-run for by freshman Kyle Gerace. After two outs, Genuario roped a single off the right-field line, with Gerace motoring in all the way home from first. Bowerbank then walked and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. However, a strikeout halted the rally, stranding two in scoring position.
Josh Davis (4-2) earned the win for Northwestern with no earned runs permitted over seven innings, striking out six. Pete Hofman collected the last six outs.
The Scarlet Knights end the 2017 season with a 19-34 record, including a 7-16 mark inside the Big Ten. The team played the 33rd-toughest schedule in the nation with 35 true road games compared to 18 at home.
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