By JAMES ALLAN
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers scored one run in the second and two in the third, and they held up as the Scarlet Knights handed the 13th-ranked University of Iowa baseball team a 3-2 loss in the series finale Saturday afternoon at Bainton Field.
Rutgers took 2-of-3 games to win the three-game series. It is Iowa’s first losing weekend and first Big Ten series defeat of the 2015 season. The Hawkeyes are 38-14 overall and 19-5 Big Ten record heading to Minneapolis for the Big Ten Tournament.
Junior Calvin Mathews took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits over four innings. Junior Luke Vandermaten was strong in relief, scattering two hits and not allowing a run over the final four frames.
Rutgers senior Jon Young earned the win in his first start of the season, allowing two runs on six hits over five innings. The right-hander, who was the team’s closer, had three strikeouts against three walks. Mark McCoy earned his first save, throwing four shutout innings, and giving up six hits.
The Hawkeyes struck first in the second, getting an RBI single through the right side from junior Daniel Aaron Moriel, scoring Nick Roscetti, to make the score 1-0. The Scarlet Knights evened the game in the bottom half when Chris Suseck led off the frame with a single before scoring from second base on a two-out wild pitch.
After Iowa came away empty despite a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the top of the third, Rutgers pushed two runs across the plate in the bottom half to take a 3-1 lead. The Scarlet Knights had started the frame with back-to-back singles before Tom Marcinczyk roped a two-run double down the right field line, giving Rutgers its first lead.
The Hawkeyes cut the lead in half in the fifth inning. Following a pair of one-out walks, senior Kris Goodman made the score 3-2 with an RBI single to left centerfield. Iowa couldn’t get anything else against Young, as the senior struck out Austin Guzzo for the second out before getting a 4-6 putout to get Goodman on a bang-bang play at second to end in inning.
Iowa left two runners on sixth, one in the seventh, and missed a golden opportunity in the eighth. Moriel doubled to lead off the inning, and pinch-runner Eric Schenck-Joblinske was standing at third with one out, but McCoy pitched his way out of the jam. The southpaw got Nick Day to fly out to shallow center before Marcinczyk made a diving catch in left field to rob Toole of a hit and end the inning.
The Hawkeyes threatened in their final at-bat, putting runners at the corners with two outs, but McCoy closed out the win by getting Roscetti to ground out to end the game.
Iowa enters the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 2 seed, where it will face off against seventh-seeded Ohio State on Wednesday at 1 p.m. (CT) at Target Field in Minneapolis.