Media Release, April 20
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Rutgers baseball team rallied for four unanswered runs and capped its comeback witha run-scoring grounder from Dan Betteridge (Sewell, N.J.) in the 10th inning to earn a 5-4 victory over USF in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Bainton Field.
The Scarlet Knights improved to 14-21-1 overall and 6-9 in the BIG EAST with the win, while the Bulls fell to 20-19 overall and 8-10 in the conference with the loss.
Down, 4-1, Rutgers began its comeback with a run in the fifth, when Betteridge doubled down the right-field line and Tom Edwards (West Caldwell, N.J.) drove him home with a single through the right side. The Scarlet Knights pushed even closer in the sixth when Vic Cegles (Phoenix, Ariz.) came to the plate with men on first and second and two outs and singled back up the middle to score one run. RU left the tying run stranded on third though as reliever Zach Pietrzyk got Donny Callahan (Sparta, N.J.) to fly out to center field to end the inning.
The Scarlet Knights again came within in 90 feet of tying it up in the eighth when Luis Feliz (New Brunswick, N.J.) and Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.) opened the frame with a pair of singles and were both sacrificed over. After a big strikeout from Pietrzyk, USF went to its bullpen to bring in lefty Stephen Hunt for the lefty Callahan. The move paid off for the Bulls as Callahan flied out to left field.
Rutgers starter Jason Downey (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) had another strong outing in his second career start with a career-long eight innings of work, consisting of 140 pitches. He handed the ball over to sophomore Kevin Lillis (Fair Haven, N.J.) for the ninth where the Bulls threatened to add an insurance run. USF had a man on third and two outs but Lillis sent Brian Hobbs down on strikes to get out of the jam.
Betteridge continued the rally in the ninth with a single to the shortstop before moving over to second on a wild throw to first base. Edwards then sacrificed him over to third and Hunt followed a hit batsman with a wild pitch to allow Betteridge to score and tie it up.
After a scoreless 10th inning for the Bulls, the Scarlet Knights completed their comeback victory just in time. Due to USF's travel schedule, a previously-agreed upon time that a future inning was not allowed to start was less than 10 minutes away. RU made sure that situation did not occur though. Sophomore Jayson Hernandez (Belmar, N.J.) hit a one-out single to right field and Cegles found a hole through the left side to move pinch runner Brandon Boykin (Teaneck, N.J.) into scoring position. A walk to Callahan loaded the bases and the Bulls yanked Hunt in favor of the righty Matt Stull against Betteridge. The sophomore hit a chopper to shortstop Addison Maruszak, who hesitated going home before trying to turn a double play. One out was recorded at second but the delay prevented a throw to first base. Boykin crossed home on the play, igniting a celebration at home plate for the triumphant Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers had fallen behind, 3-0, early on before using a Feliz triple and a Matthews hard-hit line drive single to center to score a run and make it 3-1 after two innings. The Scarlet Knights threatened for more early on with runners on second and third without recording an out in the third inning, but USF starter Derrick Stultz struck out the next three batters to get out of the jam.
Lillis (3-1) picked up the win with two innings of scoreless relief, while Hunt (0-2) was saddled with the loss after allowing the winning run on base in the 10th. Downey struck out five and allowed four runs on nine hits in eight innings of work for the Scarlet Knights in the no-decision.
Betteridge and Cegles enjoyed a three-hit day to lead the Scarlet Knights' 15-hit attack in the contest.
Rutgers continues its home slate with a Tuesday game against Wagner at Bainton Field. First pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m.