SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (March 23, 2012) – Rutgers University baseball began BIG EAST play splitting a doubleheader with rival Seton Hall on Friday at Owen T. Carroll Field. The Pirates took the opener, 3-0, behind a complete game shutout by Jon Prosinski, but the Scarlet Knights bounced back in the nightcap to pound out 13 hits for a 10-2 victory.
Rutgers (10-10, 1-1) stayed at .500 with the split, while Seton Hall moves to 10-1, 1-1. The eight-run win in the second game was the biggest margin of victory this season for the Scarlet Knights.
Senior Patrick Kivlehan (West Nyack, N.Y.) paced the team with four hits on the day from the cleanup spot.
The rubber match of the series will be Saturday with junior Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) pitching against Jose Lopez. The game will now start at 12 noon because of the poor weather forecast later in the day.
GAME TWO RECAP BOX SCORE
RU jumped out to an early lead and never looked back to earn its first BIG EAST victory of the season.
Junior Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) earned his third win of the season with six effective innings on the mound. The left-hander scattered five hits and struck out four in his sixth start of the year. Rick Mangione (0-3) took the loss for SHU.
Four Scarlet Knights picked up at least two hits, led by a three-hit game by junior Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.). Sophomore Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) scored three runs and had two hits, while sophomore Michael Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) knocked in three.
Rutgers put the pressure on right from the start, loading the bases four batters into the game. Junior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) chopped a ball off the turf, which went for a fielder’s choice, with one out to bring in Favatella for the first run of the game.
RU extended its lead to 4-0 with three two-out RBI singles in the second inning. Sophomore Joe D’Annunzio (Scotch Plains, N.J.) started the rally with a walk and stole second with one out. After a fly out, Favatella smashed a single into center field to chase home D’Annunzio. Junior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) added a single to knock out Mangione to keep the rally moving. Kivlehan then greeted the new pitcher with a first-pitch RBI single to left to score Favatella. Zavala worked a walked and his brother, Michael, followed with the third clutch hit of the frame to bring in Melillo.
Kivlehan registered his fourth hit of the day and second RBI of the game with a two-out base knock in the fourth inning to score Favatella and extend the advantage to 5-0 in favor of the guests.
The Pirates broke Smorol’s shutout with an RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth inning, but junior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) got that run back with a pinch-hit RBI single to right in the top of the seventh to score Hoermann, who crushed a double to get into scoring position.
The Rutgers bullpen faced trouble in the seventh inning after three walks loaded the bases. However, senior Willie Beard (Spotswood, N.J.) recorded a strikeout and induced an easy grounder to shortstop to keep the lead at five.
With the momentum in hand, the Scarlet Knights staged a four-run rally, batting around, to put the game away in the eighth. Melillo, Hoermann and Steve Zavala all worked to load the bases, with Melillo scoring on a wild pitch. Michael Zavala then proceeded to score the other two runners with a single up the middle for second and third RBIs of the game. The catcher scored two batters later on a D’Annunzio RBI fielder’s choice.
Beard loaded the bases in the eight, but used two strikeouts to quell the rally. The right-hander had four punch outs on the night.
Junior Dan O’Neill (Lake Hiawatha, N.J.) worked a scoreless ninth in his second appearance of the day to seal the win.
GAME ONE RECAP BOX SCORE
Junior Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) pitched well, but the offense could not string a rally together against SHU starter Jon Prosinski, falling 3-0 in the BIG EAST opener for both teams. Gebler (1-1) worked seven innings with five strikeouts, retiring nine batters consecutively during one stretch in the middle innings.
Prosinski (4-2) earned the win for the Pirates (10-10, 1-0) with the complete game shutout, while Gebler fell to 1-1.
The Scarlet Knights (9-10, 0-1) picked up eight hits in the game, with junior Zavala and Kivlehan each recording two clean singles.
The Pirates scored a single run in each of the first three innings to take an early 3-0 advantage that would hold the rest of the way. The first score came across on a misplayed popup that fell in short center field to allow Zach Granite to come across. SHU added another in the second on a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and the third run one inning later on two doubles.
The RU leftfielder, D’Annunzio, prevented another run in the third when he gunned a runner down at home for his first assist of the season, with Melillo blocking the plate.
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding baseball, follow the program on Twitter @baseballRU. Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on our social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.