PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 10, 2012) – Rutgers University baseball had two innings of at least six runs to run away from visiting Fordham University, 15-4, on Tuesday at Bainton Field. Sophomore Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.), junior Patrick Kivlehan (West Nyack, N.Y.) and freshman Matt Ackerman (Sparta, N.J.) each recorded three hits to spearhead the offensive onslaught. It was the biggest margin of victory for the Scarlet Knights this season.
In his first career start, Ackerman went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, while Sweeney scored three times with his trio of hits to provide a spark from the last two spots in the batting order. Kivlehan connected for his team-leading seventh home run of the season in the second inning and registered at least three RBIs in a game for the fourth time this year.
Junior Pat O’Leary (Sparta, N.J.) (1-0) earned his first win as a Scarlet Knight with five effective innings on the hill. The right-hander scattered seven hits and two earned runs, while picking up five strikeouts.
After falling behind 1-0 after one inning, Rutgers (16-15) exploded for its biggest frame of the season in the second, scoring eight times to take a commanding advantage. Kivlehan led off with a towering home run to left field to tie the score and sophomore Michael Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) followed with a ringing double to right-center. After a sacrifice bunt, junior Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) put the ball in play for an RBI fielder’s choice to give RU the lead.
The rally continued on single by Sweeney to put two on base. Following a wild pitch, Ackerman connected for his first career base knock to bring home two on a double. Sophomore Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) walked and classmate Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) singled to continue the outburst, all coming around on a bases-clearing double by junior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.). Kivlehan subsequently laced a single up the middle to bring in Zavala for his second hit and RBI of the inning to cap the eruption of eight runs and seven hits.
RU tacked on a run in the third on a passed ball to stretch the lead to 9-1. Sweeney hit a leadoff double and moved up on a fly ball by Ackerman, sprinting home on the miscue behind the plate.
Ryan Maghini connected for a two-run homer off O’Leary for the Rams (14-19) in the fifth to cut the deficit to six and added another on a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.
However, the Scarlet Knights put up six runs in the seventh to break the game open.
Sweeney and Ackerman reached via a walk and a single, respectively, to put the pressure on and moved up on a groundout. The shortstop came home on a wild pitch for the first run of the rally. Favatella recorded his 24th RBI of the season with a single through the left side to chase home Ackerman. Two batters later, Kivlehan knocked in Favatella with Steve Zavala, who had singled, moving into scoring position. Sophomore Joe D’Annunzio (Scotch Plains, N.J.) had the only extra base hit of the rally when he hit a two-run triple to the gap in left-center, his second of the season. Freshman Andres Vazquez (Iselin, N.J.) added an RBI single to finish off the frame, in which six runs and seven hits were recorded.
The pitching trio of sophomore Charlie Lasky (Freehold, N.J.), senior Willie Beard (Spotswood, N.J.) and junior Sam Hasty (Brooklyn, N.Y.) finished out the game with four innings of stellar relief. Hasty retired the final batter on a groundout to seal the win and moved RU over .500 once again.
Jonathan Reich (0-3) took the loss for Fordham with five innings pitched. Maghini led the visitors with three hits and three runs.
Rutgers finishes out its season-long homestand with a three-game series against BIG EAST opponent West Virginia, starting on Friday at 3 p.m. at Bainton Field.
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