PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 13, 2013) – Rutgers baseball received two strong starts on the mound on the way to splitting a doubleheader against conference foe Cincinnati Saturday at Bainton Field. The Scarlet Knights took game, 6-1, behind a strong outing by senior Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) before the Bearcats regrouped to win the nightcap, 3-2, despite a nine-inning effort from senior Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.).
RU ends the day at 7-4 in the BIG EAST and 15-16 overall, while UC is now 2-9 and 13-20. It was the fourth doubleheader for Rutgers this season.
GAME ONE RECAP
Smorol (4-2) earned his third win in four weeks by tossing 7.1 innings and allowing one run in his ninth start of the season. The left-hander scattered eight hits and two walks over the 128-pitch outing, making pitches when necessary to strand nine on base. His 21st career victory moves him into the tie for fourth in school history with Noel Gluck (1985-88).
Four hitters – freshman Matt Tietz (West Milford, N.J.), junior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.), junior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) and senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) – collected two hits to lead the offensive attack, with eight of the nine starters reaching base. The unit drew 10 walks in the ballgame, as senior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) based on balls on three occasions.
It what looked to be a pitcher’s duel early, RU broke through with a run in the third to take the lead. Tietz doubled with two outs and Favatella promptly singled him home to put the Scarlet Knights out in front. The team is now 12-2 this year when scoring first.
The advantage doubled to 2-0 in the fifth when Tietz singled home Law with one out.
Smorol settled in from there to sit down 10-of-11 Bearcats in the middle innings to seize momentum of the game. He was supported further by the offense with a pair of runs in both the seventh and eighth to runaway with the victory. Law upped his team RBI lead to 23 with a two-run single in the seventh, with O’Grady and Zarrillo and both connecting for run-scoring hits one inning later.
Senior Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) worked out of a jam in the eighth and pitched a perfect ninth to earn his fifth save of the season. The left-hander struck out two and has allowed just two earned runs over his last 12.1 innings out of the bullpen.
Connor Walsh (1-2) took the loss for UC in a six-inning start.
GAME TWO RECAP
Cincinnati rebounded in the nightcap by jumping out to a 3-0 lead and holding on late with strong relief pitching to split the day. The game snapped RU’s four-game winning streak over UC.
Gebler (3-4) took the loss, but worked his seventh career complete game by striking out six. The veteran walked only one in the 103-pitch outing and did not allow a run past the fourth inning. He is now second in school history with 283.2 career innings pitched, just 33.1 behind current pitching coach Casey Gaynor (317.0) for the all-time lead.
The Bearcats scored one in the first on a successful double steal with runners on first and third, plating runs again in both the third and fourth to jump up 3-0. Starter Mitch Patishall (1-4) took advantage of the lead and allowed just three hits and one run over 6.2 innings to earn the win.
RU attempted to stage a comeback in the sixth when redshirt freshman John Jennings (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) walked and scored two batters later on a triple by Favatella. However, Cincinnati right fielder Forrest Perron limited the damage with an accurate throw to home to prevent a sacrifice fly and convert a double play.
Then in the eighth, Tietz doubled with two outs and scored on an error to make it 3-2. That was all the Scarlet Knights could muster, as reliever Bryan Chenoweth quelled the rally. Andrew Strenge worked a perfect ninth to pick up his sixth save and preserve the win for the visitors.
The rubber match of the series will take place Sunday at 1 p.m. at Bainton Field and will be broadcast live on RVision. Law will take the mound for his ninth start of the year. RU has won its last three series over UC.