FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 14, 2012) – Junior Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) shut down Florida Gulf Coast University for seven scoreless innings to jolt Rutgers University baseball to a 7-2 win on Wednesday at Swanson Stadium to sweep the two-game series. In his seven innings on the mound, the righty struck out five and walked none, while allowing just six hits to improve to 1-0 on the season.
The victory pushed the Scarlet Knights back to .500 (7-7) and it is the best start through 14 games since the team began 8-6 in 2009. Rutgers has played all 14 games on the road so far. The Eagles fell to 6-10 with the loss.
Sophomore Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) led RU offensively, going 2-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs and two stolen bases. The second baseman paces the team with 16 RBIs.
Rutgers started the scoring in the third inning when junior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) knocked in sophomore Joe D’Annunzio (Scotch Plains, N.J.), who had walked and stole second, with an RBI single to left field. Junior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) also came through with a two-out double to score Favatella in the inning to give RU the early 2-0 lead. The team is now 5-1 when scoring first.
With the lead in hand, Gebler returned to his form of a year ago, keeping the Eagles off balance throughout.
The Scarlet Knights added two runs in the fifth inning on two-run single by Favatella. The inning was set up when sophomore Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.), who collected four hits in the series, singled and sophomore Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) doubled to force the Eagles into a pitching change. Favatella greeted the new pitcher with a base hit up the middle to extend the lead to 4-0.
RU looked poised to break the game open in the sixth with bases loaded and one out, but managed to score only one on an RBI single by Sweeney.
FGCU, as they did on Tuesday, looked to creep back in the game with a two-run eighth inning, but the junior Dan O’Neill (Lake Hiawatha, N.J.) prevented a big inning by inducing a flyout. Law brought in Favatella with a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth to set the final score.
Rutgers will look to keep its four-game winning streak alive in the final series of the Spring Break trip at No. 14 Stetson. The three-game set will begin on Friday, March 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Melching Field in DeLand, Fla.
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