Series Preview: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Maryland is set to face Rutgers as they prepare for their first home series of Big Ten conference play.

The Terps are looking to bounce back from their most recent 13-3 loss to William & Mary, where they walked 14 batters and allowed 12 hits. That defeat broke their three-game home winning streak.

Before their loss to William & Mary, the Terps had lost to Iowa in the third game of their first conference series. Maryland was on a five-game winning streak, including two against the Hawkeyes, before its most recent back-to-back.

Although no longer part of the D1Baseball Top 25 Rankings, Maryland will look to improve on its 17-11 season.

Here is what to look for from the Scarlet Knights this weekend.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (15-13)

Last Season

Rutgers ended its 2022 campaign with a 44-15 record and finished second in the Big Ten, just one conference win behind Maryland.  The Scarlet Knights battled through a strong conference featuring powerhouses like Iowa and Illinois. Their impressive year came to a halt after losing the Big Ten Championship game to Michigan, 10-4.

Since joining the Big Ten in 2014, Rutgers will be seeking its second-ever College World Series appearance in 2023.

This Season

Starting off 15-13, Rutgers has been far from it was the year prior. Both UConn and UNC Greensboro swept the Scarlet Knights, while Campbell was able to win the opening series.  Rutgers’ first conference series of 2023 saw Michigan State in which they lost the first two but were able to capture the final game decisively. The Scarlet Knights will be riding high coming into this series with their most recent win being a 5-0 shutout victory at home against Hofstra Tuesday.

After visiting College Park, Rutgers will return to New Jersey to face Seton Hall, Marist and then the raining Big Ten Conference Champion, Michigan Wolverines. Conference play will continue with matchups against Northwestern and Purdue to wrap up the month of April.

Hitters to Watch

Despite the slow start, Rutgers bats have been on fire, posting a conference-leading 294 hits thanks to guys like Evan Sleight, Trevor Cohen and Ryan Lasko.

Batting from the four-hole, Sleight has been one of the most consistent hitters for his squad. The junior left-fielder has a team-leading .386 batting average to complement his seven home runs and .693 slugging percentage. Cohen, another outfielder for Rutgers, has found himself sitting at a .377 batting average with 21 runs batted in. The Scarlet Knights’ trifecta of sluggers isn’t completed without Lasko. Slugging at .505 with 55 total bases, the 2022 All-Big Ten First Team recipient hasn’t missed a beat.

Rutgers has four starters currently batting above a .300 clip, seven with at least 18 runs batted in and three with more than 50 total bases, which only includes players that meet a minimum requirement of two plate appearances per game and 75 percent of games played so far this season.

Pitchers to Watch

Ben Gorski has been the brightest spot out of the bullpen for Rutgers so far. The junior has put up a 1.37 ERA and held opponents to a .129 batting average through twelve appearances. Through 19.2 innings pitched, Gorski has struck out 26 batters while allowing just eight hits.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Friday, April 7th: Jason Savacool and Drew Conover

Saturday, April 8th: Nick Dean and Christian Coppola

Sunday, April 9th: Kyle McCoy and Jake Marshall