This past weekend the Rutgers baseball team swept Nebraska in a weekend series.
Yesterday, the Scarlet Knights (17-13, 17-13) completed the sweep, and for the second straight weekend claimed a series victory over a ranked Big Ten opponent on the road. The No. 19 Cornhuskers (20-10, 20-10) came into the series winners of 6 of their last 7 games and sits in the top three of the Big Ten standings.
In the Friday night opener, Rutgers entered the eighth inning down 3-2, but it fought back. In his start, junior left-handed pitcher Harry Rutkowski picked up his 200th strikeout, becoming only the fifth Knight to accomplish that feat.
“That feels awesome,” Rutkowski said when asked about the milestone after the game.
Rutgers' bats also produced on Friday, as the offense drove in seven runs in the final two innings of play. Nebraska had to run through three of its relievers to get through the eighth and ninth innings.
Junior infielder/outfielder Mike Nyisztor was the recipient of wild pitching from the Cornhuskers in both of those innings. He was hit by pitches with the bases loaded in the eighth and again in the ninth, netting him two RBI’s without putting the ball in play in either of those at-bats. The Knights went on to win 9-4.
On Saturday evening, Nebraska starter Chance Hroch delivered six innings in one of his best outings of the year. Alternatively, graduate student left-handed pitcher Ben Wereski, who was coming off of a strong start against Michigan, was only able to give Rutgers 3.2 innings, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits.
The Knights' bats did not get started until late in the game. The Rutgers lineup came up big in the final three innings, scoring five unanswered off Cornhusker relief pitching.
Redshirt freshman outfielder Josh Rodriguez delivered in a big spot, pinch-hitting and hitting a two-run home run in the seventh inning. In the next at-bat, Nyisztor followed suit with a homer to left field.
RBI singles by fifth-year senior infielder Kevin Welsh and redshirt freshman outfielder Evan Sleight in the eighth and ninth gave the Knights the lead as they kept pouring it on against Nebraska pitching to complete the comeback.
After Rutgers' starter got knocked out early, the Knights' pitching was stellar as freshman left-handed pitcher Justin Sinibaldi, sophomore right-handed pitcher Parker Scott and sophomore right-handed pitcher Nate McLain combined for 5.1 innings giving up no runs and only three hits. Rutgers went on to win 6-5.
In the Sunday series finale, the Knights put on a dominant performance to close out the series. Rutgers held the Cornhuskers scoreless on the day, winning 6-0.
The Knights' graduate student right-handed pitcher Brent Teller pitched a gem, allowing only two hits and no runs across seven innings while striking out eight. For the third straight day, the Rutgers bullpen did its job, and Teller was credited with the win.
On the offensive side, the Knights' junior outfielder Richie Schiekofer got the scoring going early with RBI doubles he pulled to right field in the first inning and again in the fourth. Nyisztor scored three times on the day.
Looking ahead, this Friday Rutgers will look to continue this momentum as it takes on Indiana, back at home in Piscataway.
For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.