PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Rutgers baseball team erupted for 12 runs in the first three innings and never looked back en route to a 14-2 victory over Iona Wednesday afternoon at a windy Bainton Field in Piscataway, N.J. The 14 runs were a season-high for the Scarlet Knights, who improved to 15-19 on the season. Iona fell to 2-27-1 on the year.
Sophomore Pat Biserta (Point Pleasant, N.J.) led Rutgers’ 14-hit attack with a 4-for-4 day at the plate that included two RBI and four runs scored. The first six Scarlet Knights in the lineup collected at least one hit in the contest.
Rutgers plated its first run of the game two batters into its half of the first inning when leadoff man Michael Lang (Dumont, N.J.) drew a walk and stole second and scored on a double from Biserta. The Scarlet Knights then loaded the bases without recording an out thanks to a Dan Betteridge (Sewell, N.J.) single and a Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.) four-pitch walk. Jarred Jimenez (Monroe, N.J.) hit a line-drive single to center field to score Biserta and Betteridge and give RU the early 3-0 lead.
Lang extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a two-run double to right field in the second to open a five-run frame for Rutgers. Biserta followed with an RBI single through the right side to score Lang. After giving up a single to Matthews two batters later, Iona starter James Beck was replaced by Tom Sweeney. The reliever didn’t fare much better, however, hitting the first batter he faced in Jimenez to load the bases. Senior Luis Feliz (New Brunswick, N.J.) singled home two more runs on the next play to cap the scoring in the inning as the Scarlet Knights surged out to an 8-0 advantage.
A pair of five-pitch walks to Brandon Boykin (Teaneck, N.J.) and Lang where followed by Biserta’s third hit of the game as RU loaded the bases to lead off the third. On the next play, Betteridge delivered home Boykin and Lang with a double to center field to end Sweeney’s short outing. Matthews greeted newly-inserted Iona hurler John Kassebaum with a two-run single to center field to plate Biserta and Betteridge and extend RU’s lead to 12-0 through three innings.
Iona’s second hit of the game produced the Gaels’ first run of the contest as Dean Dignelli homered to right field with two outs in the fourth.
The Scarlet Knights tacked on two more runs in the fifth before Dignelli delivered again for the Gaels in the sixth with an RBI single down the left-field line to make it 14-2.
That is where it stayed thanks to hitless relief appearances from Sean Peterson (Wall, N.J.), Sean Campbell (Trenton, N.J.) and Ryan Beard (Point Pleasant, N.J.) in the seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.
Rutgers starter Tony Wargo (New Providence, N.J.) improved to 3-0 on the season, scattering four hits and surrendering just one earned run (two total) with three strikeouts over six innings of work. Beck (0-2) was tagged with the loss with eight runs on six hits in 1.1 innings.
Rutgers will open a three-game series with Louisville Friday at 3:00 p.m. at Bainton Field.