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Rutgers baseball drops Big Ten road series against Penn State

Junior infielder Josh Kuroda-Grauer remains one of the top hitters in the country after the Rutgers baseball team's series loss against Penn State.  – Photo by Zoe Torralba

The Rutgers baseball team continued its Big Ten struggles after losing 2 of 3 games against Penn State this weekend. The Scarlet Knights (27-23, 5-16) have now lost four straight series against conference opponents and are likely to be the second-to-last seed in the Big Ten Tournament. 

Game one: Rutgers loses 7-6

Rutgers started off the series with a close game against the Nittany Lions (23-22, 9-12). 

The Knights got out to a 3-0 lead in the third, thanks to a 2-run single from freshman infielder Ty Doucette and an RBI single from redshirt sophomore infielder Tony Santa Maria

Penn State tied the game up in the fourth, with a solo shot from Bryce Molinaro and a double from Kevin Michaels

Doucette continued his strong start to the game with an RBI groundout in the fifth, making the score 4-3, but it would be the last time Rutgers led in the contest.

The Nittany Lions scored 3 runs in the eighth, and the Knights instantly responded with hits from graduate student outfielder Pete Durocher and sophomore outfielder Trevor Cohen, but a Grant Norris RBI single in the bottom of the ninth was the game-winner for Penn State. 

Game two: Rutgers wins 7-1

Rutgers fired back with a dominant 7-1 win on Saturday, tying the series up at one. 

The Nittany Lions took the first lead of the game, with Norris knocking in an unearned run. 

From there, no runs were scored until the eighth, which is when the Knights became red-hot at the plate.

Santa Maria, Durocher, Cohen, freshman catcher Jackson Natili and junior infielder Josh Kuroda-Grauer all scored runners, giving Rutgers a 7-1 lead to close out the game. 

The Knights got massive help from their pitching, as redshirt freshman left-handed pitcher Donovan Zsak went six innings with three strikeouts and junior right-handed pitcher Jordan Falco retired two batters in three innings to earn his second win of the season. 

Game three: Rutgers loses 11-10

Rutgers dropped the rubber game against Penn State on Sunday, falling 11-10 in a back-and-forth affair at Medlar Field.

Bobby Marsh started the game with a single up the middle, scoring a Nittany Lion in the first.

The Knights responded with 3 runs in the top of the second before Penn State cut the deficit to 2 runs in its next at bat.

Rutgers exploded at the plate in the fourth, scoring 6 runs with a sacrifice bunt from senior infielder Cameron Love, a single from Kuroda-Grauer, three straight bases-loaded walks and a hit-by-pitch to give the Knights a 9-3 lead. 

The Nittany Lions pulled back 4 runs throughout the next five innings, but a Love RBI triple gave Rutgers a 10-7 lead heading into the top of the ninth. 

Junior left-handed pitcher Joe Mazza was not able to shut the door on Penn State, giving up 4 runs as the Nittany Lions took the series win in State College, Pennsylvania. 

The Knights will look to end the regular season on the front foot back at Bainton Field on Livingston campus with a three-game series against Ohio State, starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday and concluding at 11 a.m. on Saturday. All games will be broadcast on Big Ten Plus and 88.7 WRSU-FM.

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

To view more of Matthew Mangam's work, follow @matthewmangam on X.

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