PRINCETON, N.J. – Sophomore first baseman Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.) went 3-for-4 from the plate with four runs batted in and junior pitcher Kyle Bradley (Howell, N.J.) matched his career-high with five strikeouts in five innings to lead the Rutgers baseball team to a 10-7 victory over Princeton Tuesday afternoon at Clarke Field in Princeton.
With the victory, the Scarlet Knights improved to 9-11 on the season, while the Tigers fell to 7-6 on the year.
Junior Jarred Jimenez (Monroe, N.J.) opened the third inning with a single and moved over to third later in the frame on a well-executed bunt by Brandon Boykin (Teaneck, N.J.) which resulted in a base hit to put runners on the corners. Matthews then took Princeton starter Langford Stuber’s first offering off the bottom of the wall in center field for a two-run double to plate both Jimenez and Boykin.
Junior Jayson Hernandez (Belmar, N.J.) reached base on a bunt down the third-base line to lead off the fourth. After being sacrificed over, Stuber loaded the bases with a walk on a full count to Pat Biserta (Point Pleasant, N.J.) and a hit batsman when Jimenez was struck with the ball on a two-strike count. Senior Vinnie Sangemino (Nutley, N.J.) got one run home on a groundout to third base before a Boykin grounder was misplayed at third to allow another run to score. A second hit batsman re-loaded the bases and Matthews drove in two more runs with a single to right field. A third hit batsman in the frame ended Stuber’s day as Ryan Makis came in to prevent any further damage with an inning-ending strikeout.
Meanwhile, Bradley was cruising with just two hits allowed through five scoreless innings to open the game. After loading the bases on a hit and a pair of walks in the sixth, Bradley was replaced by Jason Downey (Ballston Lake, N.J.). Making just his second appearance after Tommy John surgery nearly 11 months ago, the Scarlet Knight entered with the bases loaded, no outs and the Tigers’ cleanup hitter coming to bat. He got a sacrifice fly against his first batter and rebounded from a two-run single on a two-strike pitch to Brian Berkowitz to end the frame with a David Hale double play.
The Scarlet Knights added to their 6-3 lead with three-consecutive extra-base hits in the seventh as Luis Feliz (New Brunswick, N.J.) tripled down the right-field line and Biserta and Jimenez each recorded RBI doubles to make it 8-3.
Princeton capitalized on two Rutgers errors and registered a pair of hits in the bottom half of the seventh to push across a pair of runs, before reliever Kevin Lillis (Fair Haven, N.J.) came in for Downey to end the frame with a strikeout to the first batter he faced.
The Scarlet Knights and Tigers each scored a pair of runs in the ninth before Lillis closed the door in the bottom of the inning with his fifth strikeout of the contest to preserve the 10-7 victory.
Bradley (1-1) picked up the win with five strikeouts and three runs on three hits in five innings, while Lillis recorded the 2.1-inning save (second of the season) with five strikeouts and two runs on two hits. Stuber (2-1) was tagged with the loss for the Tigers after allowing six runs (three earned) on five hits in 3.2 innings.
Joining Matthews with three hits on the day was Jimenez, who finished the contest 3-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored.
Rutgers will travel to Lawrenceville, N.J. tomorrow for a 3:00 p.m. game against Rider at Sonny Pittaro Field.