Baseball Opens 2017 at No. 17 Miami

John O'Reilly is scheduled to start the opener on Friday.
Feb. 16, 2017

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers baseball will commence its 2017 season with a three-game road series starting Friday against No. 17 Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. It will be the eighth time in the last nine years that the Scarlet Knights and Hurricanes meet on the diamond on Opening Day. All three games of the set will broadcast on ESPN3, which is available through the WatchESPN app.

Rutgers (0-0, 0-0) at No. 17 Miami (0-0, 0-0) - Coral Gables, Fla.
Game 1 Feb. 17 - 7 p.m. ET
Probable Pitching Matchup Rutgers - RHP John O'Reilly (1-5, 5.23 ERA)
Miami - RHP Jesse Lepore (9-0, 2.20 ERA)
Coverage ESPN3 | Live Stats
Game 2 Feb. 18 - 7 p.m. ET
Probable Pitching Matchup Rutgers - RHP Serafino Brito (5-6, 5.09 ERA)
Miami - LHP Jeb Bargfeldt (-, - ERA)
Coverage ESPN3 | Live Stats
Game 3 Feb. 19 - 1 p.m. ET
Probable Pitching Matchup Rutgers - RHP James Torres (0-0, 8.10 ERA)
Miami - LHP Michael Mediavilla (11-2, 3.40 ERA)
Coverage ESPN3 | Live Stats
Roster | Schedule | Statistics | Fact Book
Social Media Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Snapchat

* - 2016 statistics


The Scarlet Knights are coming off a 27-28 season, including a 9-15 mark in Big Ten play. The roster consists of 22 returning letterwinners and seven newcomers, as Joe Litterio is set for his fourth season as head coach. Overall, 31 members of the team are from New Jersey, two from Pennsylvania, and one each from New York and Florida. Seniors Mike Carter and Max Herrmann were voted team captains. Click here for the full preview.

Offensively, RU set a school record and ranked fourth in the nation with 121 stolen bases last season. Sophomore Jawuan Harris had a team-high 37 to lead the Big Ten and sit fifth nationally, a mark that leads all returning players across the country. Senior Tom Marcinczyk had 18 swipes, while classmate Gaby Rosa also collected 11. The Scarlet Knights had 33 game with multiple steals and as many as seven in a game.

Marcinczyk returns as the most experience member of the lineup with 549 at bats over 155 career games. He also owns 12 collegiate home runs and 97 RBIs, along with 14 outfield assists. Also in the outfield, Harris ended last season on a 20-game on-base streak. Carter returns with the highest on-base percentage after reaching at a .432 clip in 2016.

On the mound, junior John O’Reilly will take the ball on Friday night for his 22nd career start. The right-hander was second on the staff with 75.2 innings pitched and 53 strikeouts a year ago, inducing an average of 12.37 groundouts per nine innings. He threw 5.1 innings against the Hurricanes last year with allowing an earned run. Sophomore Serafino Brito will follow in the rotation. Also a righty, he appeared in 18 games last year with 10 starts as a rookie and walked just 10 hitters over 58.1 innings for 1.54 per nine innings, the sixth-best mark in the Big Ten and No. 48 nationally. Sophomore James Torres is slated to make his first career start in the season finale. He made four appearances out of the bullpen in 2016.

Fifth-year senior Max Herrmann is the veteran of the bullpen with nine career saves. Senior Ryan Fleming, also a left-hander, is also expected to work key innings after having a streak of 12 consecutive outings without allowing an earned run in 2016.

It will be the 35th consecutive season Rutgers opens the season on the road (last opened at home in 1982 versus Columbia) ... also the 35th straight year the team will play a game in the state of Florida … this series marks the first of six weekends away to start the campaign … Rutgers is 29-8 in games scoring at least six runs since 2015 … the Scarlet Knights played 23 games decided by two runs or less last season.

The Hurricanes, who are ranked No. 17 in the coaches’ poll, went 50-14 last season and reached the College World Series for the second consecutive year. Four Miami players picked up Preseason All-America status, including probable Friday starting pitcher Jesse Lepore. The right-hander went 9-0 with a 2.20 ERA in 2016. UM is coming off a year ranked No. 19 in on-base percentage, while sitting second in fielding percentage.

Head coach Jim Morris is set for his 24th season at the helm of the program. Click here for the Miami preview.

Miami leads the all-time series 59-12 dating back to back to 1967, having won the last 14 meetings. The teams played a three-game set to start last year, with the Hurricanes winning by the scores of 4-1, 2-0 and 8-1. The last Rutgers victory came on Feb. 19, 2011 and the last series win occurred in 2002.

Rutgers will take on another ACC opponent next weekend with a three-game series at No. 18 Virginia. The programs have not met since 1962, but RU did travel to Charlottesville, Va., in 2007 for an NCAA Regional.

Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding baseball, follow the program on Twitter (@BaseballRU), Instagram (@rutgersbaseball), Facebook (/BaseballRU) and Snapchat (rutgersbaseball).



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