PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 24, 2012) – Sophomore Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) came through with a two-run, two-out triple in the bottom of the seventh inning to highlight a four-run rally that pushed Rutgers University baseball past the University of Delaware, 6-4, on Tuesday at Bainton Field. It was the 12th come-from-behind victory of the season for the Scarlet Knights and third time RU erased a deficit in the seventh inning or later to win.
Rutgers (23-17) improved to 10-2 at home this season, while Delaware dropped to 20-19 for the year.
Favatella also added a double in the game and has reached base safely in 32-straight contests, while junior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) extended his hitting streak to 19 games with an RBI single in the seventh-inning rally. Sophomore Joe D’Annunzio (Scotch Plains, N.J.) also a productive day, reaching base in all four plate appearances with two hits and a hit by pitch to score twice.
Senior Willie Beard (Spotswood, N.J.) (3-0) earned his third win in relief with three hitless frames of work on the mound, giving up no runs on 10 batters faced. Junior Pat O’Leary (Sparta, N.J.) pitched well in his fourth start of the year, tossing six innings with three earned runs allowed.
Down 4-2, the go-ahead rally started with one out when junior Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) hit an opposite field single and moved up on a full-count knock by D’Annunzio that chased UD starter Dan Gatto. The new pitcher proceeded to walk sophomore Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) to load the bases, forcing the Blue Hens to make another move to the bullpen. Classmate Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) then hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Hoermann and cut the deficit to one. Favatella followed with the clutch two-run triple to the right field corner to bring home both D’Annunzio and Sweeney. Melillo capped the rally one batter later on a lined single to left to score Favatella and give Rutgers the 6-4 advantage.
Beard closed it out from there to earn the Scarlet Knights their ninth win in the last 12 games.
Both pitchers cruised early on, with the RU denting the scoreboard first in the bottom of the fourth. Favatella led off with a ringing double down the left field line and moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt by Melillo. After junior Patrick Kivlehan (West Nyack, N.Y.) dribbled an infield hit, classmate Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) brought in Favatella with a sacrifice fly to right field.
The Blue Hens answered back with two-run double with two outs and the bases loaded from DJ Long to take a 2-1 lead in the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, D’Annunzio singled up the middle with one out and came around one batter later on a double down the left field line by Sweeney to tie the score. The hit was just inside third base and the relay throw came into second to give D’Annunzio extra time to motor around to score, sliding in just ahead of the tag.
However, UD reclaimed the lead on a wild pitch in the next half inning and added another run on an error in the top of the seventh inning to build a two-run cushion, but RU put together the winning rally in the bottom half.
Ken Fetcho (1-1) suffered the loss for Delaware, while Gatto pitched 6.1 effective innings with six strikeouts for a no decision.
The Scarlet Knights move back to BIG EAST play this weekend, traveling to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats in the three-game series starting Friday at Marge Schott Stadium.
UD and RU will also meet on May 16 at Bob Hannah Stadium in Newark, Del. … Rutgers moves to 9-1 in midweek games this season … the game was played on a windy and cloudy day at Bainton Field.
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