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Rutgers baseball set for weekend series at Michigan

Junior pitcher Harry Rutkowski will likely get the start in Friday's series opener against Michigan. – Photo by

The Rutgers baseball team is looking to bounce back after a rough series against Iowa as the team goes on the road to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan. The No. 23 Wolverines (18-7, 18-7) are coming off of a sweep against Minnesota. 

The Scarlet Knights (12-12, 12-12) will look to stay hot on offense, with freshman outfielder Ryan Lasko being the most productive in the lineup recently. Lasko has been on a tear in the last two weeks, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week both times.

Head baseball coach Steve Owens said he is impressed with Lasko's attitude and drive. 

“We are very proud of (Lasko's) maturation and the elite effort that he plays with every game," Owens said. "The kid wants to win."

Lasko said he agrees with his coach.

“I like the mentality of win over everything, and that’s everyone’s mentality here,” Lasko said in September. “The winning is prioritized, and that’s what I want to do, I want to win.”

On the season, Lasko is batting .325 with 8 home runs and 19 RBIs. 

Junior pitcher Harry Rutkowski will look to bounce back after a rough start versus the Hawkeyes (15-10, 15-10), going 4.1 innings and giving up six earned runs in the loss. Rutkowski, graduate student pitchers Ben Wereski and Brent Teller are the three projected starters for the series. They will not be facing an easy foe in Michigan.

The Wolverines are batting .274 on the season with 33 home runs. Benjamin Sems leads the team with a .345 batting average, while the program also has four more players who bat above .280. 

Michigan has a rotation that is still successful, despite losing Tommy Henry to the MLB Draft. He was drafted after the 2019 season, where they made it to the College World Series and lost in the championship game to Vanderbilt. 

Their rotation is led by Cameron Weston and Steve Hajjar, who both have pitched more than 40 innings with earned run averages of less than three each. 

“We've been preaching to play nine innings and 27 outs,” Owens said after the team came back to beat Iowa on a walk-off in its final game of the last series. 

Tomorrow at 4 p.m., Rutkowski and Hajjar will most likely square off to open up the series and look to set the tone for their teams.

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

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