PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 6, 2013) – Behind a strong relief outing from senior Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) and home runs by juniors Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) and Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.), Rutgers baseball rebounded to defeat Seton Hall, 7-5, Saturday at Bainton Field. The victory ties the series and sets up a rubber match Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Scarlet Knights improve to 14-13 overall and 6-2 in the BIG EAST with the win, while the Pirates drop to 14-14 and 4-4.
Corsi, making his team-leading 13th appearance of the season, worked the final 3.1 innings to earn his fourth save. The left-hander allowed one run and recorded a strikeout to end the game. Senior Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) (3-3) earned the win for the second straight week after working 5.2 innings on the mound. He gave up four runs and struck out two, not walking a batter to pick up his 12th career victory.
Offensively, O’Grady, senior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) and junior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J) all had two hits to lead the nine-hit attack. Senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) connected for three RBIs to bring his total to a team-high 19 for the year.
RU jumped out right away to take the lead in the bottom of the first on a two-out home run by O’Grady. It was his second career long ball, as both have been hit over the right field wall at Bainton Field.
However, the Pirates responded with a pair of two-out singles to take a 2-1 advantage in the second. That score held until the third when O’Grady connected for a two-out sharp single up the middle to plate Sweeney and tie the game.
Then in the bottom of the fourth, Rutgers scored twice to take a lead it would not relinquish. Senior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) walked to start and moved up to second on an errant pickoff attempt. Zavala then laid down a bunt for a hit to put runners at the corners with no outs. Law followed with a sacrifice fly to chase home Melillo, with Sweeney and freshman Matt Tietz (West Milford, N.J.) both singling with two outs to bring in Zavala. It was Tietz’s fifth RBI of the season.
SHU answered with a run in the top of the fifth before RU scored two more in the bottom of the frame. O’Grady walked to leadoff and was forced out before Melillo based on balls to put two on with one out. After an out was recording, the Scarlet Knights executed the double steal to allow Law to knock in two with a clutch RBI single.
Each team scored in the sixth to make it 7-4 in favor of Rutgers. Favatella drove his second home run of the season out to left field on a high drive that found the hill and amongst the cars parked. He now has eight homers for his career.
Corsi allowed a run with one out in the seventh, but buckled down from there to hold the lead. He worked a perfect eighth and permitted just a single in the ninth to close it out with little drama.
Starter Josh Prevost (2-2) took the loss for Seton Hall, as the team used five relief pitchers. Scott Kalamar collected a game-high three hits to pace the offense.
The Scarlet Knights will look to win their fourth straight regular season series against the Pirates in the rubber game Sunday at 1 p.m. Law will make his first home start of the season on the mound.