RICHMOND, Va. (March 20, 2013) – Senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) connected for a go-ahead two-out, two-run double in the top of the 12th inning to cap off a 4-for-6 performance, leading Rutgers baseball to a 9-6 victory over Virginia Commonwealth in extra innings Wednesday at The Diamond. The teams split the midweek series, with both games needing extra frames.
It was the seventh straight RU game decided in the last at bat and played within three runs (4-3), also being the fourth game to go to extra innings over the last six (3-1).
Law’s four hits were a career-high, as he totaled six for the series in addition to starting on the mound Tuesday. He now leads the Scarlet Knights (6-10) this season in batting (.409), slugging (.523) and on-base (.458), having seven multiple-hit games.
All tied at six in the top of the 12th inning, RU rallied with two outs to claim the lead to edge out the win. After the first two batters were retired quickly, senior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) reached first on a walk to put the rally in motion. RU then caught a break, as sophomore Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) popped a ball behind second base that fell in for an error to put runners at second and third. Law next stepped up and laced a 1-1 pitch down the right field line to score both runs. The rally was not done there, as junior Ross Costello (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.) roped a single up to middle to plate Law for an insurance score.
VCU (12-6) – after earlier erasing a 6-0 deficit – attempted to stage a comeback in the bottom of the inning by loading the bases with two down, but senior Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) (2-3) induced a fly out to left field to end it and pick up his second win of the trip on the mound. He pitched 3.1 innings with three strikeouts in the outing.
Rutgers collected 11 hits as a team, with junior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) joining Law in the multiple-hit club with two singles. Senior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) also had a productive night from the cleanup spot by reaching base 4-of-6 plate appearance on three walks.
Junior Slater McCue (Radnor, Pa.) pitched well in his first start of the season and left the game in position to earn the win. The right-hander picked up four strikeouts over five innings, permitting two earned runs and six hits in the performance. Freshman Reed Shuttle (Lansdale, Pa.) was effective out of the bullpen with a season-high two innings pitched with three strikeouts.
For the second straight day, Rutgers dented the scoreboard first to take a 1-0 lead in the second. With two outs and runners at the corners, Law slid into second on a delayed steal and the ball trickled far enough away from the middle infielders to allow Zarrillo to score, unearned.
RU then added two more runs in third with two down. Sweeney singled to start the inning and made it to third with two outs before VCU was forced to go to the bullpen after the starter left due to injury. Junior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) and Melillo both worked the reliever for walks to load the bases and put the pressure on. A balk and a wild pitch followed to score Sweeney and O’Grady, with Zavala lacing an RBI single for the third run of the inning.
The lead was extended to 5-0 in the fourth when freshman Matt Tietz (West Milford, N.J.) rolled into a double play with the bases loaded and pushed to 6-0 one inning later after Law connected for a two-out RBI single to center field.
However, the Rams would not back down and chipped back into the game with a pair of runs in both the fifth and seventh to make it 6-4. They then put together two runs on two hits in the ninth to tie the score with two outs. VCU attempted to walk-off with the win on a wild play to end the ninth, but Corsi chased down a throw to the backstop from the outfield to cut down a runner at the plate and force extra innings.
The relievers from both squads dominated the extra frames until RU put together its two-out rally in the 12th.
Logan Kanuik (1-1) suffered the loss for the Rams, pitching five innings of relief. Taylor Buran led the team with three hits and three RBIs.
The Scarlet Knights, now 3-1 on their spring break trip, will next travel to Louisville to take on the nationally-ranked Cardinals in the opening BIG EAST series of the season. The three-game set will begin Friday at 6 p.m. at Patterson Stadium.