NORFOLK, Va. – Senior Luis Feliz (New Brunswick, N.J.) and sophomore Pat Biserta (Point Pleasant, N.J.) each hit two-run home runs in the first inning and the Rutgers baseball team never looked back en route to a 4-3 victory over Old Dominion Sunday afternoon at Bud Metheny Complex as the Scarlet Knights (4-5) completed the series sweep of the Monarchs (3-8).
The sweep was the first for Rutgers over Old Dominion since 2002 when RU also took three games from ODU. The Scarlet Knights have included the Monarchs on the early portion of their schedule for the past 13 years.
For the third time in as many games, the leadoff duo of Michael Lang (Dumont, N.J.) and Biserta opened the scoring for Rutgers in the first inning. Biserta drove home Lang with a double in each of the first two contests of the series. In Sunday’s game, the sophomore brought himself home too, following a Lang walk with a two-run home run to left-center field to put RU up early. Two outs and a Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.) walk later, Feliz extended the Scarlet Knights’ early advantage, finding the same spot Biserta did earlier in the inning with a two-run home run to left-center field. The home runs were the first of the season for both Scarlet Knights.
Old Dominion responded with three RBI singles in the bottom half of the first inning against RU starter Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) to pull within one run. The Monarchs threatened for more with a man on third, but Law induced and inning-ending groundout to prevent any further damage.
ODU led off its half of the third with back-to-back doubles to put a pair of runners in scoring position without an out recorded. Law, however, worked out of the jam with a strikeout, groundout and pop out to end the frame unscathed.
After giving up a leadoff walk in the fifth, Law handed the ball over to reliever Willie Beard (Spotswood, N.J.), who finished the frame with a fly out and a pair of strikeouts.
Old Dominion went to its bullpen in the eighth, replacing starter Robbie Watkins with Kyle Hald. Lang drew a leadoff walk, was sacrificed over to second and moved to third on a Dan Betteridge (Sewell, N.J.) single, but the Scarlet Knight was tagged out at the plate while trying to score on a ground ball.
The one run lead would hold up though as Willie Beard retired the Monarchs in order in the eighth and handed the ball over to closer Ryan Beard (Point Pleasant, N.J.), who set down the side in order in the ninth for his second save of the weekend.
Beard (1-0) earned his first collegiate victory with four innings of two-hit, shutout relief that included five strikeouts. Law struck out four in four innings with three runs allowed on six hits. He did not pitch the required amount of innings to earn the win. Watkins (0-1) was handed the loss in seven innings of work where he struck out five and allowed four runs on three hits.
Biserta completed the three-game series with six hits in 10 at-bats that included two doubles and a home run. The sophomore also walked three times and drove in five runs, while scoring three more.
Rutgers returns to action Tuesday for its first midweek contest of the 2009 season. The Scarlet Knights will travel to Philadelphia, Pa. to face Temple at 3:00 p.m.