WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (March 9, 2013) – Rutgers baseball rallied for two runs in the 10th inning and senior right-hander Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) pitched nine innings to help the Scarlet Knights defeat William & Mary, 5-3, Saturday in extra innings at Pulmeri Park. The series is now tied at one apiece with the rubber game set for Sunday at 1 p.m.
Senior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) kept up his hot hitting with a game-high three hits, including his second home run in as many days. He is now 6-for-8 with four RBIs in the first two games of the series and is riding a 10-game hitting streak.
After the Tribe (9-5) rallied to score an unearned run to knot the game in the bottom of the ninth, the Scarlet Knights (3-8) responded with a pair of runs in the top of the 10th to go right back ahead. Junior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) worked a walk to start the inning and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by classmate Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.), who reached via an error to put two on with no out. Both runners then advanced to second and third with no outs on a wild pitch to put the pressure on. However, a strikeout was recorded for the first out and Zavala was walked intentionally to load the bases. Pinch hitter Lou Clemente (Union, N.J.) then chopped a ball to first base that was snagged and thrown to home for the force play and second out.
Stepping up the plate next against W&M closer Mitchell Aker, sophomore Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) worked the count to 2-2 and eyed the two pitches down and in to draw an RBI walk, forcing in the go-ahead run. Immediately after, senior Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) found the hole between shortstop and third base for an insurance run, making it 5-3 on the RBI single.
Senior Nathaniel Roe (Plainfield, N.J.) entered in the bottom of the 10th on the mound and sat down the Tribe in order to preserve the win and earn his second save of the season. It was the sixth appearance for the right-hander, who has allowed only one earned run in nine innings out of the bullpen.
Gebler (1-2) picked up the well-deserved victory after completing nine innings for the seventh time in his career. In 117 pitches, he induced 16 groundouts and only allowed one earned run. The veteran scattered eight hits, walked one and struck out three in his fourth start of the season.
Zarrillo and freshman Matt Tietz (West Milford, N.J.), who made his first career start, joined Zavala in the multi-hit club with a pair of knocks in the game. RU totaled 10 hits compared to eight by W&M.
The Scarlet Knights took advantage of a W&M error to take a 1-0 lead in the second to dent the scoreboard first. Zavala extended his hitting streak with a solid one-out single into center field, moving to third on a base hit by Zarrillo with two down. Hoermann then grounded a ball to third that was bobbled momentarily, giving the hustling Hoermann enough time to beat the throw to first. Zavala touched home on the play.
William & Mary took advantage of an error to score an unearned run of its own to tie it in the bottom of the fifth. A Rutgers throwing error allowed the leadoff man to reach second, advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt and scoring on a sacrifice fly to right field.
It would not stay tied for long as Zavala sent his second home run of the series in the top of the sixth. The long ball came off a 1-1 hanging slider and was deposited near the team bus in right field. Melillo singled with one out to bring up Zavala, whose third career dinger made it 3-1 Rutgers.
The score was cut to 3-2 in the bottom of the frame when Michael Katz lofted a home run to left-center for the Tribe.
It stay that way until the bottom of the ninth when the William & Mary registered an unearned run on a two-out seeing-eye single through the left side with two outs. RU then put together its winning rally in its first extra inning game of the season in the 10th.
John Farrell pitched well for this hosts, giving up two earned runs and recording six strikeouts in a 7.2-inning start. John Sheehan (1-1) took the loss after two unearned runs were charged to his record.
Senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) will take the mound for Rutgers Sunday in hopes of clinching the series victory. First pitch at Pulmeri Park is set for 1 p.m.