FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 13, 2012) – Rutgers University baseball jumped out to an 8-0 lead, going up by as many as nine, and held on late to take the first game of a midweek series, 12-8, on Tuesday against Florida Gulf Coast University at Swanson Stadium. The Scarlet Knights staked the early advantage with a season-best seven-run fourth inning on the way to a season-high in runs scored.
Sophomore Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) led the offensive outburst with two hits, two runs and a career-high three RBIs, as five Scarlet Knights recorded multiple-hit games. Junior Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) had a game-high three runs. The RU bats have scored 22 runs the last two times out.
Rutgers (6-7) ran out to an 8-0 lead with one run in the second inning and a season-best seven runs in the fourth. The big inning started when junior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) singled through the left side, sophomore Ross Costello (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.) walked and freshman Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) hit a bunt single to load the bases. Hoermann knocked in the Law with a single for the first run of the frame and two batters later, Sweeney came through with a two-run base hit to keep the rally moving. After sophomore Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) was hit by a pitch and FGCU made a pitching change, sophomore Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) also came through with a two-run single for the fourth and fifth runs. Junior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) added an RBI groundout and Law came back around to pick up his second hit of the inning, an RBI double down the leftfield line, to cap a seven-run, six-hit and 11-batter frame.
The attack kept coming with three more in the fifth. Sweeney notched another RBI hit and O’Grady came through with a two-run single up the middle to keep the pressure on and build what was an 11-2 lead at the time.
Sophomore Slater McCue (Radnor, Pa.) was effective in his first career start, pitching three scoreless innings to open up. However, the righty allowed five runs – three earned – after that, coming out after 4.1 innings on the mound. He only gave up four hits and recorded five strikeouts, but did not reach the required five innings to earn a win.
Florida Gulf Coast (6-9) tried to make a comeback, coming as close as 11-7, but sophomore Charlie Lasky (Freehold, N.J.) (1-0) restored order with 2.1 innings of work, with just two hits and one unearned run permitted, on his way to his first career win. Junior Dan O’Neill (Lake Hiawatha, N.J.) helped Lasky finish the eighth by stranding two runners on base to preserve a four-run lead. The lefty worked a quick ninth to pick up his first career save and seal the third-straight win for the Scarlet Knights.
Jack English (0-1) suffered the loss for the Eagles even though he did not surrender a hit in two innings.
Rutgers wraps up the brief series with Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday with junior Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) getting his second start of the season. Kevin Bryant will pitch for FGCU with first pitch at Swanson Stadium set for 6:30 p.m.
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