CLEARWATER, Fla. (February 28, 2010) – Rutgers junior outfielder Pat Biserta (Pt. Pleasant, N.J.) went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI and freshman reliever Tyler Gebler (Pt. Pleasant, N.J.) shut the door on Purdue in the ninth to lead the Scarlet Knights to their first victory of the season with a 6-5 win over the Boilermakers in their final game of the Big Ten/BIG EAST Baseball Challenge Sunday morning at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Fla.
The BIG EAST Conference captured the second annual tournament with a 17-13 edge in victories over the Big Ten Conference.
The Scarlet Knights (1-5) took a 6-4 lead into the ninth but the Boilermakers (0-3) scored a run and threatened for more with the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second without an out. RU went to its bullpen and brought in Gebler. The cool-headed freshman, making his third collegiate appearance, induced a groundout to first base and followed a walk with another ground ball, which first baseman Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.) corralled and went home with to prevent the run from scoring from third. Gebler then got Cameron Perkins to hit a groundball to the shortstop for the final out and prevent Purdue’s comeback bid for his first career save.
Rutgers got a Biserta solo home run to right field in the first to stake the Scarlet Knights out to an early lead.
The Boilermakers got four hits, including a pair of doubles from Brad Schreiber and Kevin Plawecki to plate two runs in the second, however the Scarlet Knights got both of those runs back in the bottom half of the frame. An infield error put Dan Betteridge (Sewell, N.J.) aboard with one out and he moved over to third on a Jared Jimenez (Monroe, N.J.) single. With runners on the corners and two outs, Biserta played a role again with an RBI single to third base to bring home Betteridge. An errant throw by the third baseman allowed Jimenez to also come around and score on the play.
A leadoff double from Barret Arthur set the stage for a Purdue run in the fourth to tie it up at 3-3. The Boilermakers got another run in the fifth after Plawecki followed a Perkins double with an RBI single through the left side two plays later to give Purdue a 4-3 advantage.
Freshman Dan O’Neill (Garfield, N.J.) came in for starter Willie Beard (Spotswood, N.J.) to start the sixth and retired eight of the first nine batters he faced in working scoreless frames in the sixth, seventh and eighth.
With Purdue starter Matt Jansen out to start the seventh, Rutgers took advantage, scoring three runs off the Boilerkmakers’ bullpen. Junior Michael Lang (Dumont, N.J.) got it started off newly-inserted reliever Pat Gannon with a one out double down the left-field line and Biserta continued to produce runs for RU with an RBI single to center field. Junior Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.) greeted new pitcher Sean Collins with an RBI single to center field to plate Biserta and sophomore Ryan Kapp (Toms River, N.J.) singled up the middle to bring home Matthews and give RU a 6-4 lead through seven innings.
Purdue mounted its comeback attempt with a pair of singles to lead off the ninth. With runners on first and second, Tyler Spillner hit a double to right-center field to bring a run home and move the tying run to third. That’s when the Scarlet Knights went to Gebler, who shut the Boilermakers down to preserve the victory.
Beardworked five innings with a pair of strikeouts and three earned runs (four total) allowed in the no decision for Rutgers. O’Neill picked up his first collegiate win with three innings of relief, striking out one and allowing a one run. Gebler recorded his first career save with the scoreless ninth frame.
Rutgers will return south next weekend for a three-game series at third-ranked Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Ga. The series will open with a 4 p.m. game Friday.