PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 15, 2012) – Senior Ryan Fasano (Stony Point, N.Y.) pitched 8.2 effective innings and Rutgers University baseball finished off the sweep of West Virginia University, winning the series finale, 3-1, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Bainton Field. It was the first three-game BIG EAST sweep for RU since taking all three at home against USF from April 16-18, 2010.
Fasano (3-3) worked at least eight innings for the fourth time this season, allowing just one run and six hits on the day. The right-hander did not walk a batter and struck out five to keep the Mountaineers off balance.
The sophomore double play duo of second baseman Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) and shortstop Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) combined for 11 assists in the middle infield, as Fasano induced 15 groundouts throughout his 115-pitch outing. It was the 10th errorless game of the season for the Scarlet Knights (19-15, 7-5 BIG EAST).
Junior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) continued his hot hitting with two hits to extend his hitting streak to 14 games and the Scarlet Knights were able win with five hits or less for the first time this year. RU stole a season-high six bases, led by three thefts by sophomore Joe D’Annunzio (Scotch Plains, N.J.).
The Mountaineers (14-23, 3-9 BIG EAST) scored first for the third-straight day on a two-out RBI single by Nate Antone in the second inning. Rutgers responded in the third with a pair of runs to take a lead it would not relinquish.
D’Annunzio led off being hit by pitch and promptly stole second. After two outs, Favatella blasted a single through the left side to plate the left fielder and even the score. Melillo then followed with a booming double to the wall in center to chase home Favatella with the second clutch two-out hit of the frame.
An insurance run was added by RU in the sixth. The situation started once again with a hit by pitch, as junior Patrick Kivlehan (West Nyack, N.Y.) was plunked in the ribs. The third baseman stole second and moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.). Sophomore Michael Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) came through one batter later with a lined single to left to bring home Kivlehan.
West Virginia threatened in the seventh inning, putting the tying runs on base with one out. However following a visit from pitching coach Rick Freeman, Fasano induced yet another groundball that the middle infielders turned into a double play to prevent further trouble.
Junior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) relieved Fasano with a runner on second and two outs in the ninth, completing the sweep with his second save of the year.
Dan Dierdorff (3-3) suffered the loss for the visitors despite striking out six in 6.2 innings, while Chris Rasky went 4-for-4 in the game.
It was the second weekend sweep of the season for the Scarlet Knights, as RU took all three at Old Dominion from Feb. 24-26.
Rutgers will step outside the conference for two upcoming midweek games, traveling to Monmouth on Tuesday, April 17 at 3:30 p.m. before returning home to face Lafayette on Wednesday, April 18 at 3 p.m.
- Rutgers has won five of six and is on a tied for season-high four-game winning streak
- Favatella has reached base safely in 26-straight games
- D’Annunzio is now 6-for-7 in stolen base attempt this season
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