PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers baseball is set to travel to Iowa for its first Big Ten road series of the season, which starts Friday at Banks Field. The Scarlet Knight have been home the last three weekends after playing the previous six on the road.
Saturday’s 7 p.m. ET game will air on Big Ten Network following the RU football spring game, with Brandon Gaudin and Danan Hughes on the call. The other two contests will broadcast on BTN Plus.
|Rutgers (13-21, 2-4) at Iowa (22-13, 5-4) - Iowa City, Iowa|
|Game 35||April 21 - 7 p.m. ET|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||Rutgers - RHP Gaby Rosa (3-3, 5.86 ERA)
Iowa - RHP Nick Gallagher (4-1, 2.55 ERA)
|Coverage||BTN Plus | Live Stats|
|Game 36 (BTN)||April 22 - 7 p.m. ET|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||Rutgers - RHP Serafino Brito (2-6, 5.21 ERA)
Iowa - LHP Ryan Erickson (1-1, 3.55 ERA)
|Coverage||BTN2Go | Live Stats|
|Game 37||April 23 - 1 p.m. ET|
|Probable Pitching Matchup||Rutgers - RHP John O'Reilly (3-5, 5.13 ERA)
Iowa - TBA
|Coverage||BTN Plus | Live Stats|
|Roster | Schedule | Statistics | Fact Book|
|Social Media||Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Snapchat|
Rutgers will make its initial trip to Iowa for a Big Ten series, marking the ninth Big Ten campus visited since joining the league in 2015. The Scarlet Knights have not previously played at Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern in conference play. The latter two are on the schedule for later in the season, with the Minnesota series still in discussions for determining possible makeup dates.
Rutgers is coming off a heartbreaking loss in non-conference action Wednesday at Seton Hall. In a seesaw affair that saw both teams stage late rallies, the Pirates came away with a walk-off inside-the-park home run in the 12th inning to end a five-hour, eight-minute contest. Senior Mike Carter went 7-for-11 with a home run versus SHU to up his non-conference batting average to .452 this season. Sophomores Jawuan Harris and Mike Martinez each picked up four hits in the two midweek games.
Prior to that, RU won its last Big Ten series by taking the last two games over Purdue at Bainton Field. Junior John O’Reilly seized the rubber game by retiring the first 19 batter faced and striking out seven. The bats scored at least six runs in each game and have plated that number or more the last six times out, a stretch that started with a school-record 28 runs at Lafayette.
Overall, Carter ranks No. 27 nationally and leads the Big Ten with a .397 batting average. He also enters the weekend tied for first in the league with 54 hits, third with a .465 on-base percentage, tied for fourth with 11 doubles, sixth with a .559 slugging percentage and tied for 12th with 29 runs scored. Seeing time at designated hitter, first base and left field, Carter has reached base in 32-of-34 games and is closing in on 200 career hits at 192.
Senior Tom Marcinczyk is also approaching the 200-hit mark with 190 to his record. The right fielder is hitting .450/.621/.850 over the last six games and is tied for third in the conference with 24 walks drawn. Hitting six home runs, Marcinczyk is one off the team lead held by Harris, who has seven in addition to 19 stolen bases. The 26 home runs hit by the Scarlet Knights top the 19 hits in all of 2016.
Rutgers will use the same starting rotation, lining up senior Gaby Rosa, sophomore Serafino Brito and O’Reilly in that order versus the Hawkeyes. Rosa struck out four in 4.1 innings last time against Purdue and brings 10 career victories to the mound. Brito won last Saturday by pitching six innings with four runs to hold a lead. The right-hander has not walked a batter in 20 innings, ranking first in the Big Ten and No. 29 nationally with just 1.16 base on balls permitted per nine innings. Rounding out the order, O’Reilly is coming off the best start of his career that included carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning. He ended up pitching a career-high eight innings and matched his collegiate best with seven strikeouts.
Out of the bullpen, senior Ryan Fleming leads the staff and is tied for fourth in the conference with 17 appearances on the season. The left-hander worked two scoreless frames in extra innings on Wednesday. Fifth-year senior Max Herrmann has five saves and 14 in his career, tied for third-most in school history.
Rutgers is 40-11 since 2015 when scoring at least six runs in a game and 11-3 this year ... the last time the Scarlet Knights had a stretch of six consecutive games scoring six more runs was April 17-24, 2012 ... Martinez leads the team in batting average (.350) in Big Ten play, while Marcinczyk has the highest on-base percentage (.520) and slugging percentage (.444) ... O’Reilly is holding opponents to a .170 average against in two conference starts, having struck out 13 and walked three ... RU ranks No. 24 nationally with 1.68 stolen bases per game ... the team has scored double-digit runs in six games this season and recorded 10 or more hits 12 times ... Brito has walked one batters or less in 15-of-18 career starts on the mound ... Carter has 16 multiple-hit games and eight with at least three hits ... Marcinczyk has made it on base in each of the last 16 games ... the team is 11-5 when recording more hits than its opponent.
The Hawkeyes won 2-of-3 in their last Big Ten set at Nebraska and also own a weekend series victory over Purdue. Most recently, the team suffered a 6-4 road loss in midweek action at Bradley, but hold an 11-1 record at Banks Field this season. Jake Adams leads the Big Ten with 14 home runs and has 46 RBIs, while Robert Neustrom is hitting .358. Friday starter Nick Gallagher brings a 2.55 ERA into the weekend with a .232 average against. Overall, Iowa is hitting .285/.377/.429 as a team and has a 4.16 staff ERA.
Rick Heller is in his fourth season as the head coach. Click here for more on Iowa baseball.
Rutgers closed out the 2015 season by taking 2-of-3 over then-No. 13 Iowa at Bainton Field. Howie Brey pitched a complete game to lead RU to a 5-3 victory in the series opener. After the Hawkeyes won the middle game by the score of 10-3, the Scarlet Knights held on for a 3-2 win in the rubber game to become the first team to win a weekend set over UI that season. Marcinczyk delivered a two-run double that proved to be the difference in that victory.
Iowa leads the all-time series, 5-4, as six previous games were played at neutral sites.
Rutgers return to Bainton Field for a five-game homestand that includes midweek games against Villanova and Columbia and a weekend series versus Michigan.
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).