BOCA RATON, Fla. – Junior Dan Betteridge (Sewell, N.J.) went 4-for-5 with four RBI and drove in the winning run in the top of the 10th inning with a sacrifice fly to left field to lift the Rutgers baseball team to a 6-5 victory over Penn State in game one and the Scarlet Knights (8-6) completed the sweep with a 5-2 victory over the Nittany Lions (7-8) in game two of a seven-inning doubleheader Saturday afternoon at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla.
Betteridge finished the day 5-for-7 from the plate with six RBI to help guide Rutgers to the series sweep.
The Scarlet Knights used a three-run sixth inning to take a 5-4 lead on Penn State in the opener, but the Nittany Lions plated a run in the bottom of the sixth to tie it up.
Following three scoreless innings, Rutgers broke through with a run in the 10th. Penn State reliever Drew Palen issued consecutive walks to Rutgers’ No. 8 and No. 9 hitters – Brandon Boykin (Teaneck, N.J.) and D.J. Anderson (Randolph, N.J.) – to lead off the 10th before being replaced by Mike Pierce. After Rutgers loaded the bases several batters later, Betteridge came through once again for the Scarlet Knights in the contest. The junior, who had three singles and a double in his first four at-bats, lifted a ball to left field for the second out of the inning, but the ball was deep enough to get Boykin home for the deciding run in the contest.
Senior closer Ryan Beard (Point Pleasant, N.J.) then shut the door on the Nittany Lions in the bottom of the 10th to earn the save.
Redshirt freshman Willie Beard (Spotswood, N.J.) worked four innings of relief, allowing just one run on four hits and a pair of strikeouts, to pick up his second victory of the season, while PSU reliever Drew Palen (0-2) was saddled with the loss after putting the eventual winning run on base courtesy of a walk in the 10th. Junior Dennis Hill (Hillsdale, N.J.) started on the mound for the Scarlet Knights and struck out five, while allowing two earned runs (four total) on five hits in five innings before handing the ball over to Willie Beard in the sixth.
Down 1-0 in the second inning of game two, Rutgers exploded for five runs in the fourth inning and never looked back en route to the 5-2 win.
With one out in the fourth, junior Tim Reilly (Egg Harbor City, N.J.) hit a fly ball to right field that hit off the fielder’s glove and loaded the bases. Boykin then drove in the first run on the next play with a line drive single to left field and Betteridge continued his hot hitting one play later with a two-run single to left to make it 3-1. Penn State starter Mike Lorentson issued a walk to Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.) to re-load the bases and the Scarlet Knights used a wild delivery from the Nittany Lion hurler to score two more runs as Betteridge and Boykin scored on the play.
After four innings of one-run ball, Steven Zavala (Randolph, N.J.), who made his first collegiate start, handed the ball over to Kevin Lillis (Fair Haven, N.J.) in the fifth. Lillis worked a 1-2-3 fifth frame before Penn State plated a run in the sixth thanks to an RBI double to the gap in right-center field from Louie Picconi to make it 5-2.
Holding the three-run advantage, the Scarlet Knights once again went to their closer and once again Ryan Beard delivered with a scoreless seventh to preserve the victory and earn his second save of the afternoon.
Beard has five saves this season, tying him for eighth place on the school’s single-season save list. His eight career saves rank ninth in school history.
Zavala earned his first collegiate win, working the minimum required innings in a seven-inning game. He scattered four hits over the four innings and posted a strikeout to move to 1-0 on the season. Lorentson (0-3) was tagged with the loss for Penn State with the five unearned runs in the fourth inning. He struck out four and allowed four hits in 4.1 innings of work.
Rutgers and Penn State will close the four-game series with a noon game Sunday at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. Freshman righty Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) will be on the mound for the Scarlet Knights.