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Rutgers baseball suffers pitching trouble in 2-1 series loss to High Point

The Rutgers baseball team suffered its first series loss of the season, losing two games in a three-game affair with High Point this weekend. – Photo by

The Rutgers baseball team lost its first series of the year this weekend, losing to High Point 2-1 across the set of games. The Scarlet Knights (10-4, 0-0) were mauled by the Panthers (5-11, 0-0) in the two-day affair, allowing 22 runs on 26 hits.

Game 1: Rutgers wins 7-4

In the first of the Friday double-header, Rutgers rallied late for a strong win behind another dominant performance from senior left-handed pitcher Justin Sinibaldi. Sinibaldi got the day one nod for the first time this season over sophomore right-handed pitcher Christain Coppola, who was moved to day two.

High Point started the scoring in the second after a sacrifice fly ball from Sam Schner scored Brayden Simpson. The Panthers added another run in the fifth before the Knights began to rally back.

In the sixth, sophomore outfielder Trevor Cohen slapped a single to center to start things off before redshirt sophomore infielder Tony Santa Maria and junior infielder Josh Kuroda-Grauer went back-to-back to take a 3-2 lead.

Rutgers added on two more in the seventh, then another two in the eighth while it hunkered down on defense. High Point grabbed 2 more runs after an error to reach the final score of 7-4 before a scoreless ninth.

Sinibaldi was credited with the win after pitching eight solid innings for the Knights, allowing 2 earned runs on eight hits. Sinibaldi is now 3-0 on the season after shoving for eight strikeouts and a walk on Friday.

Graduate student left-handed pitcher Joey DeChiaro slammed the cage shut on the Panthers, coming in for Sinibaldi in the ninth and earning his third save of the season.

Game 2: Rutgers loses 12-2

Just 45 minutes after the comeback win in game one, Rutgers was left stunned by an electric High Point offense in game two.  

The Panthers struck first, getting out to an early 5-0 lead through two innings. Coppola started on the rubber but was pulled before the end of the first after walking four batters and hitting two.

High Point scored 4 runs (3 earned) off of Coppola before graduate student right-handed pitcher Jake Marshall shut the scoring down with three Panthers still on base.

Marshall let up a run in the second and then gave up a two-run homer off the bat of Cael Chatham to put High Point up 7-0 in the fourth. 

After a scoreless fifth, the Panthers pounced on Marshall yet again, picking up 2 more runs in the sixth courtesy of some timely bats. 

Meanwhile, the Knights swung their swords for just two hits through six innings, getting completely shut down by Gus Hughes. Freshman infielder Ty Douchette broke the scoring drought with a homer to right center to start the seventh inning.

High Point answered right back with another pair of runs in the seventh to bump up its total to 11 runs through seven innings. The two teams each picked up a run in the eighth with the Knights going silent in the ninth, crediting Coppola with his first loss of the season.

Game 3: Rutgers loses 6-2

Rutgers was victim to another slow start in game three, recording just four hits for no runs through three innings. 

The rubber game saw freshman right-handed pitcher and infielder Zack Konstantinovsky start strong on the bump for the Knights. Konstantinovsky was solid through three innings, striking out four batters and only allowing two hits. 

The fourth, though, was when things began to unravel for Rutgers. High Point rallied with two outs to pick up 3 runs. The Panthers doubled their lead in the fifth after Konstantinovsky was taken out for junior left-handed pitcher Joe Mazza. Despite only getting one hit, a string of errant pitches from Mazza led to High Point’s trio of runs.

The scoring went quiet for the next three innings until the Knights finally woke up in the ninth Rutgers strung together a pair of runs, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit as it fell to the Panthers in the series closer by 4 runs.

The Knights ended the game with ten hits to High Point’s eight but walked the Panthers eight times, further emphasizing the pitching issues present during game three.

Rutgers will look to bounce back from its first series loss in a two-game series against UNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Game one will take place Tuesday at 6 p.m. on Bryson Field at Boshamer Stadium, with game two taking place a day later at 4 p.m.

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

To view more of Philip Jaccoma's work, follow @PJaccoma on X.

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