Three takeaways from Rutgers baseball's week against Hofstra, Maryland
The Rutgers baseball team had another four-game week, starting off against its New York foe Hofstra at home before traveling to College Park over the holiday weekend to play Maryland. The Scarlet Knights (16-15, 2-4) won their mid-week matchup against the Pride (11-19, 6-9) but dropped their series against the Terrapins (19-12, 4-2).
Shutting out Hofstra at home
Rutgers started off its week with a bang when it hosted Hofstra on Tuesday. Junior left-handed pitcher Justin Sinibaldi played well, holding the Pride to just five hits and no runs in five innings.
The Knights took advantage of the momentum from their pitching staff and started their scoring early. Senior infielder Chris Brito got things rolling in the second with a run batted in (RBI) that put Rutgers on the board.
The Knights scored again in the third inning, after which they were held scoreless until the eighth when things started to heat up for them.
Junior outfielder Ryan Lasko led the charge with a sacrifice fly, putting Rutgers up 3-0. A fielder's choice brought in another run soon after. Sophomore infielder Josh Kuroda-Grauer finished up the scoring for the Knights, knocking in the final run of the game with a single through the left side.
Junior right-handed pitcher Garrett French closed the game for Rutgers, solidifying the 5-0 victory to start the week.
Struggles in College Park
The Knights had a rough start to their weekend series against Maryland. The Terrapins, who have arguably the most dangerous rosters in the Big Ten, showed up strong in their first two matchups against Rutgers.
The Knights got on the board early in the first game against Maryland on Friday. Lasko scored in the first inning, followed by freshman catcher Hugh Pinkney taking a walk that brought in another run. The Terrapins responded in the second with a single run of their own, but Rutgers still maintained its lead.
Lasko led off the fifth inning with a solo home run, which extended the lead to 3-1 over Maryland.
The Terrapins tied it up in the sixth and took the lead in the seventh on a 3-run homer from Nick Lorusso. The Knights tried to battle back in the eighth inning but ended up falling in the first game 6-4.
Maryland secured the series win in Saturday's close game, ending with a final score of 4-3.
Game two was full of home runs from both the Terrapins and Rutgers. Freshman infielder Maximus Martin and junior outfielder Evan Sleight each had solo home runs in the afternoon match, but their efforts were just shy of keeping up with Maryland.
Leaving Maryland with a big win
Despite losing the series, the Knights ended the weekend with a solid offensive performance in a win over the Terrapins.
Sunday's match started with Maryland scoring first. Rutgers came back quickly, tying the score at 1-1 in the second inning. The beginning of the match was mostly tit-for-tat, with the Knights and the Terrapins going back and forth for the lead.
Things started to pick up near the halfway mark as a 2-run double from Lasko gave Rutgers the 4-2 lead.
The Knights scored a momentum-changing 6 runs in the top half of the sixth inning. The scoring spree started off with a homer from Lasko, followed by home runs from junior infielder Jordan Sweeney and Kuroda-Grauer.
Junior right-handed pitcher Sam Bello closed the game for Rutgers with a 14-8 final.
Lasko was the star of the game for the Knights, as he racked up five hits along with 3 runs, three RBIs and a home run in the sixth inning. As a team, Rutgers totaled 16 hits.
The Knights will have a long week ahead of them as they will be playing five games at Bainton Field on Livingston campus. They will face off against Seton Hall on Tuesday, Marist on Wednesday and cap the week off with a series against conference rival Michigan over the weekend.
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