Rutgers baseball captured Game 1 with a 5-4 victory over Illinois
With the Scarlet Knights’ 5-4 game-one victory over Illinois (22-23, 11-11) on Friday, Rutgers baseball (31-18, 12-7) is now only one game back from the No. 1 spot in the Big Ten Conference standings. Maryland and Indiana are tied for the No. 1 spot, as Rutgers is one game back with five conference games remaining.
Rutgers baseball grabbed an early lead in their series opener against the Fighting Illini to capture their sixth straight victory. Rutgers catcher Andy Axelson provided a lift in the bottom of the second inning with a three-run home run to give the Scarlet Knights a 3-0 lead.
Big Ten baseball roundup: Rise and fall in this week's power rankings
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Ryan Lasko’s RBI double and Chris Brito’s RBI single gave the Scarlet Knights a 5-0 lead. Brito’s single was his 191st career RBI, tying him with Pete Zoccolillo and Jake Daubert for the program record.
✔️ Early Offense
✔️ Elite Defense
✔️ Clutch Pitching
A total team effort for win 3⃣1⃣ on the season. #TCD pic.twitter.com/4ns8Cteeda
— Rutgers Baseball (@RutgersBaseball) May 13, 2023
The Scarlet Knights registered only four hits in game one but found other ways to reach base, recording five walks and five hit-by-pitches. Rutgers freshman Trevor Cohen didn’t record an at-bat but reached base four times with four walks (career high).
Rutgers starting pitcher Christian Coppola continues his dominant performance, recording 6.0 innings, allowing just one run on eight hits, striking out six, and walking one. Friday’s start marks his fourth quality start in his last five outings.
Illinois was able to climb back into the game in the top of the eighth inning with a two-run homer to cut Rutgers’ lead to one. Rutgers’ bullpen shut them down in the top of the ninth inning, as closer Ben Gorski completed his seventh save of the season to seal the Rutgers’ victory.
Can Rutgers baseball capture the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament?