PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 15, 2013) – Riding a five-game conference winning streak, Rutgers baseball concludes its regular season with a three-game series at USF starting Thursday. The Scarlet Knights are in fifth place in the BIG EAST standings are would improve to fourth by sweeping the series.
Following the series, Rutgers will stay in the area to compete in the 2013 BIG EAST Championships at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. RU will play its postseason opener May 22 at 5 p.m. as either the fourth or fifth seed.
The Scarlet Knights (25-26, 13-8) will bookend their regular season in the state of Florida, having played at Miami to start and USF to finish. In the most recent series at home versus Georgetown, RU had its best offensive production with a .420 team batting average, 47 hits and 37 runs in the three games. It was the second sweep of the season. On the mound, seniors Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) and Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) combined to give up only one earned run over 14 innings in the Saturday doubleheader.
Sophomore Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) leads the team with a .382 batting average in conference play, while junior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) is at .350. Senior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) is seventh in the BIG EAST with a .442 on base percentage for the year.
The series will mark the 10th weekend on the road for Rutgers this season.
The Bulls (33-19, 15-6 BIG EAST) enter the weekend undefeated at home in the BIG EAST at 9-0, but were most recently swept on the road against Seton Hall last weekend. James Ramsay leads the offense with a .335 batting average, while Jimmy Falla has a team-high 43 RBIs. Ace Jimmy Herget is pitching to a 1.66 ERA over 81.1 innings this season and has 53 strikeouts. Head coach Lelo Prado is in his seventh season at USF after being at Louisville the previous 11 years.
Rutgers has played 68 conference games since last playing USF in 2011 on the road. The Bulls took that series 2-1, but the Scarlet Knights own a slight 8-7 all-time advantage. Head coach Fred Hill earned his 1,000th career victory versus USF at Bainton Field back on April 17, 2010.
Rutgers will open the BIG EAST Championships May 22 at 5 p.m. at Bright House Field.