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Four takeaways from Rutgers baseball's performance at Swig & Swine Classic

Junior pitcher Drew Conover led the Rutgers baseball team to a win over George Mason in the Swig and Swine Classic but the Scarlet Knights (2-4, 0-0) dropped the following two games in the tournament. – Photo by

The Rutgers baseball team earned a victory but suffered two defeats in the Swig and Swine Classic in Charleston, South Carolina, last weekend. Here are four takeaways from the Scarlet Knights' (2-4, 0-0) weekend.

Momentum sustained in the first game

In the team's last game against Campbell, Rutgers secured a dominating 16-3 victory. After losing the first two games of the opening series against the Camels (6-1, 0-0), the Knights were finally able to show their talent.

In Rutgers’ first game of the Swig and Swine Classic on Friday, the team’s momentum was able to last until the very end against George Mason.

In the bottom of the ninth against the Patriots (2-4, 0-0), the Knights were down 3-2, but they were able to tie it up after a sacrifice fly from junior outfielder Danny Melnick allowed junior outfielder Evan Sleight to score from third base, which sent the game to extra innings. George Mason quickly got the 1 run lead back in the top of the 10th, but Rutgers wasn’t going down without a fight.

With one out in the bottom of the 10th, freshman catcher Hugh Pinkney sent a run-scoring triple to right center to tie up the game. The Knights walked it off when senior infielder Chris Brito sent a sac fly to center fielder that scored Pinkney and earned Rutgers its second win of the season.

Drew Conover looked as good as advertised

Junior right-handed pitcher Drew Conover was able to rebound in his start against the Patriots after giving up 5 earned runs through just two innings in his debut against Campbell.

Against George Mason, Conover was lights out. The transfer from Seton Hall tossed six scoreless innings of three-hit, no-walk baseball. Conover punched out seven Patriots and thoroughly impressed onlookers throughout his second start of the season.

The pitcher’s performance is huge for Conover’s confidence and also helps in building up his status as the Knights’ ace on the mound.

Momentum dropped

Rutgers lost its last two games of the Swig and Swine Classic, and while both contests were tight throughout, the Knights couldn’t figure out a way to swing the scores in their favor.

On Saturday, Rutgers fell to Ball State by a score of 5-4. The Knights started off the game hot with a 4-1 lead after six innings of play, including two runs batted in (RBI) from junior infielder Jordan Sweeney. The wheels fell off the wagon in the later innings as Rutgers surrendered 4 straight runs to the Cardinals (4-4, 0-0).

Then on Sunday, the Knights were taken down by Boston College with a final score of 6-4. The game featured back-and-forth scoring from both teams for the first three innings. The Eagles (5-1, 0-0) extended their 1 run lead in the fourth inning and sustained that lead on their way to a victory.

A positive from the loss to Boston College was Brito swinging for the fences in his first "Brito Bomb" of the season. A negative from both defeats against Ball State and the Eagles was a combined 16 players left on base with eight in both contests. In narrow defeats, leaving baserunners on the diamond with no runs can result in drastic outcomes.

No need to panic

Baseball is an everyday sport which means teams and players could be at their best in one game and fail to find the same success during the next.

In a spring full of baseball games, it’s important not to worry about slow starts and slumps. As quickly as slumps begin, they can also be quick to end.

Rutgers will trot back on the field in a Wednesday afternoon matchup against St Joe’s. The first pitch is at 3 p.m., with the game being broadcasted on Big Ten Network+ as well as 88.7 WRSU-FM.

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

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