PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 4, 2013) – Having won its last five games, Rutgers baseball will remain at home this weekend to host rival Seton Hall in a three-game series at Bainton Field. The Scarlet Knights lead the conference with five BIG EAST wins through two weeks of league action.
RVision will broadcast the first two games of the series live, with Danny Breslauer and Jason Goldstein on the call. WRSU will have the call at 88.7 FM and online for the Saturday and Sunday contests.
PARKING ADVISORY: Rutgers will be hosting an open house at the RAC throughout the day Saturday. Fans attending the game are advised to avoid Avenue E and come to the venue via Metlars Lane due to the expected heavy volume of vehicles.
Game 27: Saturday, April 6
First Pitch: 1 p.m.
Rutgers Starter: RHP Tyler Gebler (2-3, 3.30)
Seton Hall Starter: RHP Josh Prevost (2-1, 2.05)
Live Stats: GameTracker
Radio: WRSU 88.7FM
The Scarlet Knights (13-12, 5-1 BIG EAST) opened Bainton Field for the season by taking a pair of midweek games. In a 15-6 win over Columbia, senior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) went 4-for-4 with two home runs and five RBIs. Sophomore Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) also kept a hot bat coming a home run short of the cycle, as the offense pounded out a season-high 17 hits. Then against Iona the next day, freshman Matt Tietz (West Milford, N.J.) and Melillo both homered to back a solid pitching effort from senior starter Pat O’Leary (Sparta, N.J.). Classmate Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) worked 2.1 scoreless innings to close it out and earn his third save in the 6-3 triumph.
After starting the season 3-9, RU has won 10 of its last 13 to move over .500 for the first time this season. The pitching has been a main factor, working to a 3.09 ERA over that stretch with 80 strikeouts and 34 walks. Four hitters – senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) (.404), Zarrillo (.400), junior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) (.345) and Melillo (.341) – have batted over .340 during the period to guide the offense to 80 runs and 140 hits. O’Grady is currently riding a 14-game hitting streak.
On the mound, RU will stay with its usual starting rotation versus SHU after giving up just seven earned runs over 44.2 conference innings (1.41 ERA). Seniors Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) and Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) both did not allow a run in their previous starts at Villanova, as Gebler earned BIG EAST and NJCBA Pitcher of the Week after tossing a three-hit shutout with eight strikeouts and no walks. Smorol enters his start with 180 career strikeouts and can move into third in RU history with four in his next start. Law will once again work the finale, earning victories in his last two outings. Villanova was held scoreless for the first 24.2 innings of the series last weekend.
SCOUTING SETON HALL
The Pirates (13-13, 3-3 BIG EAST) have also been playing solid baseball of late, winning five of their last six. They most recently took a series at home against Connecticut and defeated Princeton and Rider in midweek action. Led by ace and Preseason BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year Jon Prosinski, the staff has worked to a 3.15 ERA for the season. The Pirates like to run on the base, recording 72 stolen bases in 79 attempts, with Chris Selden leading the offense charge at a .343 batting average.
The long-time rivals have met 84 times, with Rutgers holding a 43-40-1 advantage in records back to 1946. The two New Jersey teams met four times in 2012, including a three-game series in South Orange that RU won. However, the Pirates earned revenge with a 6-1 victory in the opening game of the BIG EAST Tournament in Clearwater, Fla. The Scarlet Knights will look to win their fourth straight series over SHU.
Rutgers will head back to the road for a midweek game at Fordham before returning home to face Cincinnati in another BIG EAST series.