PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Despite 8.1 innings pitched and only two runs allowed by sophomore right-hander Corey Walter
, the West Virginia baseball team fell 3-2 to Rutgers in the series opener on Friday afternoon at Bainton Field.
Up 2-1 heading into the ninth inning, Walter walked Bill Hoermann with one out. Sophomore righty Ryan Tezak
entered the game to attempt the save, but walked Joe D’Annunzio to put runners on first and second.
Pat Sweeney then tied the game with an RBI single to left field, scoring pinch runner Matt Ackerman from second and advancing D’Annunzio to third. Sweeney advanced to second on a wild pitch, forcing WVU to intentionally walked Brian O’Grady to load the bases. Nick Favatella ended the game in the next at bat with a single down the left field line to score D’Annunzio.
Junior right fielder Brady Wilson
led the Mountaineer offense with two hits and one run, while five hitters had one hit apiece, including a home run by junior right fielder Chris Rasky
. The Mountaineers fell to 14-21 overall and 3-7 in the BIG EAST while the Scarlet Knights improved to 17-15 and 5-5 in the conference.
Wilson struck first for the Mountaineers with a lead-off single up the middle to begin the game. Wilson then scored from second on a two-out line drive single to left field off the bat of sophomore left fielder Matt Frazer
, giving WVU a 1-0 lead.
Rutgers tied the game at 1-1 in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Patrick Kivlehan, scoring Favatella from third base. Favatella reached after being hit by the first pitch of the inning.
Rasky gave WVU the go-ahead 2-1 lead in the fourth inning with his first home run of the season, a solo blast to right field.
That was all Walter needed, cruising in arguably his best start, until the ninth inning. After allowing six hits in the first three innings, Walter did not allow a hit the rest of the afternoon, including a span of retiring 12 consecutive Rutgers batters from the fourth to the eighth innings.
He finished with two runs allowed on six hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Walter took the no-decision.
Walter’s counterpart, Tyler Gebler, earned a no-decision after giving up two earned runs off seven hits in eight innings pitched. Jerry Elsing and Dan O’Neill combined to pitch the ninth for the Scarlet Knights, with O’Neill earning the victory.
The teams return to action for game two on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be radio streamed at WRSU.Rutgers.edu.