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Rutgers baseball sweeps defending Big Ten champion Nebraska

Sophomore pitcher Justin Sinibaldi got the start in Rutgers baseball's 19-1 victory over Nebraska today. – Photo by Scarletknights.com

The Rutgers baseball team finished its weekend series today against Nebraska. The Scarlet Knights (25-6, 8-1) swept the Cornhuskers (12-18, 4-5) on the road to extend their winning streak to 10 games.

Rutgers started its series on Friday with a 7-5 win. The Knights got the scoring started right away with a leadoff home run from sophomore outfielder Ryan Lasko. Graduate student pitcher Jared Kollar got off to a rough start, walking four batters in the first inning. Nebraska was able to put up a run in the bottom of the first, tying the game.

Junior catcher Nick Cimillo hit a two-run home run in the top of the fifth inning to increase the lead to 4-1.

The Cornhuskers got a run back in the back of the fifth inning before Rutgers took a 7-2 lead. A two-out bases-clearing double in the bottom of the ninth reduced the Knights’ lead to only two runs, but junior relief pitcher Dale Stanavich retired the next batter to end the game and get the victory.

"I'm just pleased with our guys," said head coach Steve Owens. "They handled the atmosphere. They played a good game. We got 10 hits on a Friday with five extra-base hits and we came up with a big team win."

In the second game of the weekend, Rutgers clinched the series win over the defending Big Ten champions with a 5-4 victory.

A three-hit second inning helped the Knights score three runs in the top of the second to take the lead. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Nebraska tied the game up with a controversial three-run home run that was shown on replay to have not left the ballpark, but the umpires could not overrule the play.

In the top of the eighth, Rutgers responded when sophomore infielder Tony Santa Maria hit a two-run home run to put the Knights up 5-3. The Cornhuskers halved the deficit in the bottom of the eighth before Stanavich slammed the door shut with a four-out save, marking his seventh of the season.

"We know that if we get a lead that we are going to keep it,” said Santa Maria. “If it comes down to those final outs, we have all those guys in the infield and outfield that we can trust."

Rutgers finished the series with a dominating 19-1 victory. The victory was the Knights' seventh straight Big Ten win.

Sophomore pitcher Justin Sinibaldi got the start, pitching 5.1 innings allowing only two hits and one run. The game was close up until the seventh inning. Rutgers led 3-1 before putting up nine hits on their way to scoring 10 runs and taking a 12 run lead.

Graduate student infielder Danny DiGeorgio contributed a grand slam before junior infielder Chris Brito hit a two-run home run, accounting for 6 of the Knights’ 10 runs in the inning.

Six more runs in the final two innings officially made the game a blowout as the Knights would finish up 18, scoring 16 runs in the final three innings.

Rutgers will look to keep building on its 10 game win streak when it takes on Lafayette on Tuesday, Penn on Wednesday and Indiana in a weekend series. All of these games will be at Bainton Field on Livingston campus.


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


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