NORFOLK, Va. – Down 3-1 through five innings, the Rutgers baseball team scored 12 runs over the final four innings, highlighted by an eight-run seventh frame, to earn a 13-8 victory over Old Dominion Saturday afternoon at Bud Metheny Complex. With the victory, the Scarlet Knights (3-5) recorded the series victory over the Monarchs (3-7) with a win in the first two games on the weekend.
The 13 runs and 17 hits were both season highs for the Scarlet Knights, who have totaled 23 runs and 33 hits in the first two games against the Monarchs.
Rutgers took an early lead with a run in the first thanks to an RBI double from sophomore Pat Biserta (Point Pleasant, N.J.).
Old Dominion got on the board in the third inning when an errant throw on a pickoff attempt allowed a run to score before a wild pitch brought a second run home. The Monarchs pushed across a third run in the inning with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Gerard Hall.
Rutgers starter Dennis Hill (Hillsdale, N.J.) rebounded from the third inning, retiring the side in the fourth.
Back-to-back hits from Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.) and Jayson Hernandez (Belmar, N.J.) to lead off the sixth set the stage for two runs in the frame. Matthews crossed home on a groundout before freshman pinch hitter Steven Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) brought Hernandez home with his first collegiate hit to tie it up at 3-3.
The Scarlet Knights then surged out to a commanding lead with the eight-run seventh frame. Following a leadoff walk by Lang and a sacrifice, the Monarchs went to their bullpen to replace starter Brett Harris with Cory Toth. Matthews walked and Hernandez greeted Toth with an RBI single to the gap in right-center field. Later in the inning, three-straight RBI singles from Jarred Jimenez (Monroe, N.J.), Brandon Boykin (Teaneck, N.J.) and D.J. Anderson (Randolph, N.J.) brought home four more runs and signaled the end to Toth’s short outing. Pinch hitter Russ Hopkins (Piscataway, N.J.) greeted new ODU hurler Brandon Smith with his first collegiate hit to bring home a sixth run before Lang (walk) came around to score a seventh run on a throwing error on the play. Junior Dan Betteridge (Sewell, N.J.) capped the scoring with the sixth RBI single of the inning to score Hopkins and give RU an 11-3 lead.
With a commanding advantage, Hill handed the ball over to reliever Tony Wargo (New Providence, N.J.). The senior retired the side in order in the seventh before Jimenez extended the lead to 12-3 with an eighth-inning home run.
However, the Monarchs rallied with five runs in the bottom half of the frame to pull within 12-8. Three hits and an error with just one out in the eighth gave Old Dominion its first two runs of the frame before Wargo was replaced by junior Sean Peterson (Wall, N.J.). ODU got another hit and capitalized on another error to plate three more runs. Facing a bases-loaded situation, RU made another call to the bullpen to bring in junior Kevin Lillis (Fair Haven, N.J.) and the veteran reliever got RU out of the jam, inducing a pop out to end the frame.
A Betteridge RBI double made it 13-8 in the ninth and Lillis closed it out to pick up his first save of the season.
Hill (1-1) scattered four hits over six innings with four strikeouts and just one earned run (three total) allowed to pick up his first win of the season. He retired 12 of the final 14 batters he faced in the contest. Harris (1-1) was saddled with the loss for ODU with four runs (three earned) on eight hits and eight strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
Rutgers and Old Dominion will close the series with a 1:00 p.m. game Sunday. Freshman righty Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) will be on the mound for the Scarlet Knights. ODU hasn’t determined a pitcher for the series finale.