PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Redshirt freshman Willie Beard (Spotswood, N.J.) pitched eight innings of two-run ball with five strikeouts and handed the ball over to closer Ryan Beard (Point Pleasant, N.J.) for a perfect ninth to lead the Rutgers baseball team to a 7-2 victory over Georgetown in the series opener Thursday afternoon at Bainton Field in Piscataway.
Sophomore D.J. Anderson (Randolph, N.J.) led the Scarlet Knights (21-20, 7-18 BIG EAST) offensively with three hits and two RBI on the afternoon. Willie Beard evened his record to 4-4, ending his first season of collegiate action with wins in his final two starts. He scattered six hits and did not allow an extra-base hit in a career-long eight innings of work, totaling 96 pitches in the contest.
After yielding a Georgetown (16-33, 7-17 BIG EAST) first-inning run, Beard settled down and retired 11 straight at one point to take the Scarlet Knights into the fifth with a 2-1 lead.
Rutgers erased its one-run deficit in the bottom of the first as Georgetown starter Jimmy Saris ran into an early jam. After hitting Michael Lang (Dumont, N.J.) and issuing walks to Dan Betteridge (Sewell, N.J.) and Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.), Saris loaded the bases with one out. Junior Jarred Jimenez (Monroe, N.J.) then hit a ground ball to second base for a fielder’s choice to get Lang home and the Scarlet Knights squeezed in another run as an alert Betteridge came around to score from second on the play while Georgetown attempted to turn a double play.
Meanwhile, Beard cruised into the fifth without allowing a Hoya to reach base in the second through fourth frames. Georgetown put the tying run on third with one out in the fifth, but the confident Beard posted a strikeout and induced an inning-ending fly out to end the frame unscathed.
Anderson singled through the left side for his second hit of the day to bring home a run and give the Scarlet Knights a two-run cushion in the seventh.
A single from the Hoyas’ Chip Malt was followed two batters later with a two-out single down the left-field line from Sean Lamont to bring home a run and cut the lead to 3-2.
Rutgers extended that lead to five runs with a four-run bottom half of the eighth. Back-to-back one-out singles from Betteridge and Matthews ended Saris’ day in the frame. Jimenez registered his second RBI of the contest with a sacrifice fly to center field off reliever Tommy Isaacs to plate Betteridge, before a passed ball brought home Matthews. Following a Tim Reilly (Egg Harbor City, N.J.) walk and Luis Feliz (New Brunswick, N.J.) single, Anderson capped the scoring, rounding out his three-hit day with a double down the right-field line. Reilly came around to score on the hit and a relay was mishandled by the infield on the play, allowing Feliz to come around to score all the way from first.
Ryan Beard entered with the five-run lead in the ninth and retired the side in order to seal the victory.
While Willie Beard picked up his second-straight win, Saris was saddled with the loss after surrendering five runs on eight hits and striking out three in 7.1 innings.
Thursday marked Rutgers’ 11th straight victory over Georgetown, dating back to 2005.
Rutgers and Georgetown will continue the series with a 3:00 p.m. game Friday. Junior righty Casey Gaynor (Toms River, N.J.) will be on the mound for the Scarlet Knights against junior righty Tim Aldeman for the Hoyas.