PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 5, 2012) – Junior Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) pitched his fourth career complete game to lead Rutgers University baseball past the University of Pittsburgh, 3-1, in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday at Bainton Field, while the Panthers escaped with the second game, 5-2. Classmate Patrick Kivlehan (West Nyack, N.Y.) led the Scarlet Knights with four hits and three RBIs on the day, with sophomore Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) also logging four base knocks in the split.
Rutgers ended the day at 27-19 overall and 12-8 in the BIG EAST, with Pittsburgh moving to 23-22 and 7-13.
GAME ONE RECAP BOX SCORE
Gebler (2-3) needed just 1:59 and 98 pitches to work all nine innings in the opener of the twin bill, allowing one run and five hits in the outing to win for the first time at home this season. The right-hander recorded four strikeouts and has surrendered only two runs in his last 17 innings pitched.
Favatella collected three hits to lead the RU offense, while Kivlehan and sophomore Joe D’Annunzio (Scotch Plains, N.J.) each had two knocks in the win.
Rutgers broke through with three runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 3-0 lead, all the scoring it would need in the game. D’Annunzio led off with a single up the middle and advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.). Classmate Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) then laced a single through the right side to bring home the speedy D’Annunzio from second base. The rally did not stop there as Favatella beat out a groundball to third base for an infield hit to put two runners on base.
The Scarlet Knights were next aided by an error on a grounder to first by junior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) when Pittsburgh attempted to force out the runner at second, but the throw went into the outfield to allow O’Grady to come around to score and pushed Favatella to third. Kivlehan capped the rally with a sacrifice fly to right field for his team-leading 37th RBI of the season.
After each pitcher shutout the opposition in the middle innings, Pittsburgh scored in the top of the seventh inning on a two-out RBI single by Boo Vazquez. That was the last opportunity for the Panthers, as Gebler worked two scoreless innings to close out the game and seal the 12th conference win of the season for RU.
Left-hander Matt Iannazzo (6-3) took the loss with seven innings pitched and two earned runs allowed for the visiting Panthers.
GAME TWO RECAP BOX SCORE
Rutgers scored two early runs to take a 2-1 advantage in the second game, but several timely hits from Pittsburgh and a strong start from Ethan Mildren prevented the Scarlet Knights from sweeping the doubleheader. Kivlehan and O’Grady each registered two hits apiece in the nightcap.
Each team scored a run in its first at bat of the second game. Rick Devereaux delivered an RBI double to put the Panthers on the board, but O’Grady led off with a single for Rutgers in the bottom half and came around to score on a two-out single by Kivlehan three batters later.
The third baseman came up in a similar situation in the third with Favatella on third and two outs, coming through once again with a single through the right side to give Rutgers the 2-1 advantage.
However, the Panthers rallied for three runs between the fourth and fifth innings to regain the lead, 4-2. Devereaux, who led all players with five hits on the day, notched three hits and two RBIs in the victory for Pittsburgh, while Evan Oswald also had three hits from the seventh spot in the order. The fifth Pitt run was added on an RBI hit by Casey Roche in the seventh.
Mildren (5-4) picked up the win with eight solid innings pitched, allowing eight hits and two runs to go with four strikeouts. Joe Harvey recorded his second save of the season. Junior Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) (6-3) suffered his first conference loss of the year after surrendering three earned runs over 6.1 frames.
The Scarlet Knights will look to take the series in the rubber game set for Sunday, May 6 at 1 p.m. at Bainton Field. Senior Ryan Fasano (Stony Point, N.Y.) is scheduled to start for RU against Matt Wotherspoon.
It was the third doubleheader of the year for RU (at Seton Hall, at Connecticut) … Kivlehan is now up to 23 stolen bases on the season and has a .403 batting average … Favatella has scored a team-leading 45 runs this year … O’Grady tracked down nine fly balls in center field in the doubleheader … RU is now 11-4 at home … the Scarlet Knights did not commit an error in the first game … the twin bill was played under overcast skies with temperatures in the 60s.
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