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Rutgers baseball heads to Maryland for four-game series

Graduate student starting pitcher Ben Wereski will get a chance to start this weekend as the Rutgers baseball team faces Maryland in a four-game series.  – Photo by Rutgers Baseball / Twitter

The Rutgers baseball team will be traveling to College Park this weekend to play a four-game series against its Big Ten opponent, Maryland. 

The Scarlet Knights (2-2, 2-2) will look to keep their bats hot this weekend after splitting both two-game series against Indiana and Minnesota, which saw Rutgers hit eight home runs in only four games. 

The Knights will look to sophomore infielder Chris Brito and redshirt freshman outfielder Evan Sleight to replicate that success. During the series, Brito went 4-12 with two home runs and had 6 RBIs while Sleight who was making his debut went 3-10 with a grand slam as his first collegiate hit. 

On the mound, Rutgers will feature its main three starting pitchers junior Harry Rutkowski, graduate student Ben Wereski and graduate student Brent Teller. Rutkowski and Wereski both went six innings in their season-opening starts with five or more strikeouts in their outings. 

The Knights are still looking for their fourth starter. In their last outing, right-handed pitchers Jayson Hoopes and Ben Gorski gave up four-plus runs in each of their innings of work. Each has a fastball and breaking ball that could make them key arms for the team.

Head baseball coach Steven Owens could also turn to fifth-year senior left-handed pitcher Tevin Murray who has experience in the rotation having been a starter in 2019, starting 12 games for the Knights. 

The Terrapins (1-3, 1-3) will seek to have a better weekend than the last. They went 1-3 against Michigan State, but had some key performances from plates that could prove to be a challenge for Rutgers. 

On the mound, Maryland will look toward Sean Burke, Connor Staine and Jason Savacool. In his freshman year, Burke pitched to a 1.99 ERA in four starts. In his first collegiate game, Savacool pitched a complete game against the Spartans (3-1, 3-1) while giving up two runs along with Staine who threw six innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts. 

At the plate, the Terrapins bats have not nearly matched the Knights' 28 runs with only eight of their own, having a team batting average of .200.

Ahead of Friday's game, Owens had some words about last week’s performance where Rutgers lost to the Golden Gophers (1-3, 1-3) 13-8.

"You can't win giving up nine runs in the first two innings," Owens said. "We didn't pitch well at the beginning and it's a tough hole to dig out of … There were a lot of things to build on from this weekend, other things to fix. We'll get home and get ready for Maryland next weekend."

The first pitch is slated for Friday at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium in College Park, Maryland.

For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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