WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (March 10, 2013) – Rutgers baseball rallied to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth inning, but William & Mary countered with two runs of its own in the bottom to walk-off with a 4-3 victory Sunday at Pulmeri Park. The Tribe took two-of-three in the series, with all three games decided by two runs or less.
Senior right-hander Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) was the story of the day for the Scarlet Knights (3-9) on the mound, recording a career-high 12 strikeouts in his best start of the season. It was the most punchouts for a RU pitcher since senior Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) had 12 versus Cincinnati April 16, 2011. Law allowed two runs (one earned) in the first and settled down from there to work seven complete innings. He scattered seven hits and walked just one batter in the 114-pitch outing.
Down 2-1 going into the ninth, Rutgers put together two runs on three hits to take its first lead of the day. Senior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) walked with one out and moved up to second on a single up the middle by sophomore Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.). Senior Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) then came up and hit a clutch single into right field that brought home Zavala for the tying run, moving Zarrillo up to third. Immediately after, Zarrillo raced home on a wild pitch to put RU out in front, 3-2.
However, the Tribe (10-5) answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame to win the game. A single and a sacrifice bunt put the tying run on second within two batters, scoring next on a single. Kevin Nutter proceeded to hit a walk-off single in the next at bat to left field.
The runs in the ninth were the first for W&M since William Shaw connected for a two-out, two-run single in the first inning.
Rutgers cut the deficit in half with a score in the fourth. Senior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.), who led the Scarlet Knights with two hits in the game, led off with a double down the left field line and moved up to third on a Zavala sacrifice bunt. Following a walk, Hoermann grounded out to first base to plate Melillo for an RBI.
W&M starter Jason Inghram pitched into the ninth inning, allowing two earned runs and four hits in a no-decision. Mitchell Aker (1-0) earned the win out of the bullpen for the Tribe, while senior Nathaniel Roe (Plainfield, N.J.) (0-1) suffered the loss.
RU will continue its Virginia swing next weekend in a three-game series at Richmond, starting Friday, March 15 at 3 p.m.