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Rutgers baseball swept by Indiana as struggles continue in Big Ten play

The Rutgers baseball team dropped to 3-12 in Big Ten play this weekend after Indiana swept the series 3-0. – Photo by Christian Sanchez

The Rutgers baseball team traveled to Bloomington, Indiana, this weekend, where it lost its second consecutive conference series, getting swept 3-0 by Indiana. The Scarlet Knights (24-19, 3-12) were outmatched by the Hoosiers' (25-18-1, 10-5) combination of solid pitching and slugging.

Below is a recap of how the weekend went.

Rutgers' bats did not make the trip in game one: Rutgers loses 8-3

After an explosive 15-0 win against St. John's on Tuesday, Rutgers needed to keep its offensive momentum heading into Friday. It did not.

Totaling just seven hits on the day, the Knights got out to a slow start, which turned into a quiet finish. Rutgers did not score until the fourth, where it picked up 2 runs thanks to hits from freshman infielder Ty Doucette and graduate student infielder Johnny Volpe.

While the Knights struggled at the plate, Indiana jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first. Joey Brenczewski homered off senior left-handed pitcher Justin Sinibaldi, who battened down and pitched three scoreless innings following the deep shot.

In the fifth, the Hoosiers tacked on another run on a wild pitch from Sinibaldi to increase their lead to 4-2. Despite what the score suggests, Indiana also finished the day with only seven hits, scoring 7 of its 8 runs off three homers.

Aside from the wild pitch in the fifth, both teams were quiet until the seventh, where the Hoosiers snagged their last 4 runs on the aforementioned pair of home runs. Sinibaldi was pulled for junior right-handed pitcher Jordan Falco in the process and was later credited with the loss.

Rutgers picked up 1 more run in the eighth to reach the final score of 8-3 but failed to do much more.

Indiana keeps on homering in game two: Rutgers loses 12-6

After seeming to miss their original flight on Friday, a couple of the Knights' bats took the next plane to Bloomington, arriving for game two to the tune of 11 hits.

Two of those hits came in the first, scoring Volpe to take a brief 1-0 lead.

Indiana responded immediately with a home run to tie the game and then strung together some hits in the second to take a 5-1 lead.

Getting the first start of his college career was redshirt freshman left-handed pitcher Donovan Zsak, who lasted just two innings before getting pulled for senior right-handed pitcher Ben Gorski. Zsak was later credited with his first loss of the year and holds a record of 2-1.

After a quiet third, Rutgers responded with 3 runs to cut the Hoosiers' lead to 5-4. It was none other than junior infielder Josh Kuroda-Grauer and Doucette who led the charge, smacking a single and a ground-rule double, respectively.

It must be a rule for Indiana to hit a home run instantly after the opponent scores because that is precisely what the Hoosiers did for the second time of the day. By the end of the fourth, Indiana increased its lead to 7-4.

The Knights then added 2 more runs in the fifth while the Hoosiers added 1 run in the sixth and another 4 in the eighth to reach the final score of 12-6 and secure the series win.

Indiana refuses to keep the baseball in the ballpark and keeps up with the home runs: Rutgers loses 18-6

In what would hopefully be a game in which Rutgers could save face and gain some upward momentum, Sunday's game was where everything fell apart.

The Knights burned through six pitchers in the series finale. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Christian Coppola started on the mound, letting up two walks, a single, a 2-run home run and hitting three batters before getting pulled in the second for sophomore right-handed pitcher Ethan Bowen.

Bowen would let up another 7 runs in the second, highlighted by two more home runs from Indiana, one of which was a grand slam from Tyler Cerny.

Prior to the Hoosiers' 9-run inning, Rutgers was the first to strike from the plate. Redshirt sophomore infielder Tony Santa Maria scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of sophomore infielder Pablo Santos.

In the top of the third, the Knights responded to the now 9-1 score and scored 4 runs of their own. Volpe, Kuroda-Grauer and Santa Maria all hit home runs in the inning. This would be the closest they would get to taking the lead back, with both teams going quiet until the fifth.

Unsurprisingly, Indiana hit another home run in the fifth before Rutgers added an unearned run of its own in the top of the sixth.

With a score of 10-6, the Hoosiers dealt one final blow to the discouraged and depleted Knights. Indiana scored 8 more runs in the sixth while Rutgers cycled through its bullpen.

After finally getting out of the inning, the Knights stayed silent in the seventh before losing.

With only nine conference games left in the season, the team can, at best, finish 12-12 in Big Ten play. Before Rutgers can try to improve that record, it will play Princeton at home on Wednesday. The game will start at 6 p.m. under the lights at Bainton Field on Livingston campus.

Following the weekday game, the Knights will face Maryland in a weekend series at home. Friday's game will start at 6:30 p.m., Saturday's game will be at noon and the series finale will begin at 1 p.m. Games one and three will be on Big Ten Plus, with game two airing on the Big Ten Network.

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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