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Rutgers baseball to start 2021 season on Friday

Graduate student left-hander Ben Wereski joins an experienced group of pitchers who will take the mound this weekend as the Rutgers baseball team plays four games in three days.  – Photo by Scarletknights.com

On Friday, the Rutgers baseball team will look to open up the season in Minneapolis, Minnesota since its season was canceled almost a year ago. 

“We're excited to get back,” said head baseball coach Steve Owens. “It's been a long road for everybody and a lot of new things we've gone through. We've been practicing well, the guys have been focused and given us full effort.”

The Scarlet Knights will play a hybrid series, playing Indiana on Friday and Saturday, while also taking on Minnesota on Saturday and Sunday. 

Owens will be looking to start his top three starters who have solidified themselves in the rotation. They are junior southpaw Harry Rutkowski, graduate student left-hander Ben Wereski and graduate student right-hander Brent Teller.

With 20 pitchers on its staff, Rutgers will have the opportunity to be flexible with five others who are vying for starting spots: freshman right-hander Jayson Hoopes, sophomore right-hander Nate McLain, freshman southpaw Justin Sinibaldi, fifth-year senior left-hander Tevin Murray and redshirt freshman right-hander Ben Gorski.

The lineup will also include players like sophomore first-baseman Chris Brito, fifth-year senior second baseman Kevin Welsh, junior outfielder Richie Schiekofer, junior infielder/outfielder Mike Nyisztor and fifth-year senior shortstop Danny DiGeorgio. They will be called upon to produce as they have in the past and especially now this season, when they only will be playing conference games. 

“I don’t think anyone has ever played 44 conference games, in any conference. This will be unlike anything Rutgers has faced, but we’re all in the same boat,” Owens said, referring to the schedule. 

The Knights will be up against the Hoosiers and the Gophers, two Big Ten opponents to start off the season. 

Minnesota went 8-10 in 2020, and Indiana had a successful year in 2019 going 37-23. In 2020, they went 9-6 and beat teams like No. 11 Louisiana State and No. 17 East Carolina.

Rutgers is prepared to get on the field for the first time since the cancellation of last year's season, while Owens will now have the opportunity to coach a full season for Rutgers. 

“Regardless of who we’re playing we’re just excited to play," Owens said.


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

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