PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 21, 2012) – Senior Ryan Fasano (Stony Point, N.Y.) pitched the second-straight complete game shutout for Rutgers University baseball to propel the team to a 5-0 victory over Rider University in the team’s home opener at Bainton Field. Sophomore Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) and senior Patrick Kivlehan (West Nyack, N.Y.) each homered to provide the offensive support.
Fasano (1-3), who suffered two hard-luck losses in his two previous outings, scattered six hits to go with four strikeouts and no walks to pick up his first win of the season. He was in control throughout, hitting locations and mixing speeds to finish the complete game in just 1:59 with 101 pitches. He also pitched a complete game at FAU on March 9.
The Scarlet Knights (9-9) have not allowed a run in 18 innings going back to junior Rob Corsi’s (Oceanport, N.J.) shutout Sunday at Stetson.
Favatella snuck his third home run of the season around the foul pole in left field to get Rutgers on the board in the bottom of the first. The second baseman continues to lead the team with 17 RBIs this season.
Rutgers scored its second run of the game in the fourth inning after junior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) laced a triple into the gap in right center and scored one batter later on a sacrifice fly by classmate Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.).
Three critical insurance runs were added in the fifth on the first career home run by Kivlehan. The rally started when sophomore Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) was a hit by a pitch and junior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) placed an infield hit with two outs. On the first pitch of the at bat, the third baseman hit a soaring fly ball that landed on the grassy knoll beyond the left field fence to clear the bases and give the hosts a commanding 5-0 advantage.
That was all the run support that Fasano needed. The Broncs loaded the bases with one out in the eighth inning, but the right-hander induced two easy fly balls to escape trouble unscathed. In the ninth, Fasano allowed two to reach, but he threw a groundball double play and picked up a strikeout to bring the Scarlet Knights back to .500.
Brandon Cotton led Rider (5-13) with two hits, while starter David Hafer (0-1) suffered the loss.
Rutgers enters BIG EAST play this weekend, making the short trip to face Seton Hall. The three-game series begins on Friday, March 23 at 6 p.m. at Owen T. Carroll Field.
- Favatella is currently on a nine-game hitting streak
- Melillo caught his third runner of season stealing when Rider tried to move to third on ball in the dirt in the third inning
- Rutgers now has seven home runs this season, but Kivlehan hit the first three-run shot of the campaign
- Kivlehan is now 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts and has six multiple hit games
- The Scarlet Knights are now 5-1 in home openers since FieldTurf was installed before the 2007 season
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