GLASSBORO, N.J. (April 14, 2017) –The Rutgers University-Camden baseball team dug itself into an early hole here Friday in its New Jersey Athletic Conference game against Rowan University, and while the Scarlet Raptors made a valiant comeback bid, the deficit was a little too much to overcome.
Rowan scored four runs in the third inning, three of them unearned on three Raptor errors, and went on to edge Rutgers-Camden, 5-4. It was the second straight day the Profs won a one-run game against the Scarlet Raptors after taking a 2-1, 12-inning decision Thursday in Camden.
Rowan, which received 20 votes this week in the ABCA Division III national poll and seven votes toward the D3baseball.com Top 25 poll, improves to 21-9 overall and 5-3 in the NJAC.
Rutgers-Camden falls to 10-15 overall and 1-7 in the NJAC with its seventh straight loss. Four of those defeats have come by one run, including the last three, while the other three losses have been two-run games.
After Rowan scored a first-inning run on a hit batsman and a RBI double by junior designated hitter Shawn Leydon (Roxbury, NJ/Roxbury), the Scarlet Raptors tied the game in the second inning. Senior leftfielder Doug Carter Jr. (Union, NJ/Union) opened the frame with a double to left center. He scored on a two-out single through the right side by freshman centerfielder John Tedeschi (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddonfield Memorial).
In the third inning, the defense fell apart behind Raptor senior starter Zach Welsher (Audubon, NJ/Audubon), who pitched six innings of seven-hit ball, walking two. Out of the five runs Welsher (1-2) allowed, only two were earned.
Senior rightfielder Jason Clapper (Mount Laurel, NJ/Lenape) started the frame with a single and stole second. An infield throwing error allowed him to move to third and batter Alex Kokos (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Valley) to reach second base. Both scored on a single by Leydon, who moved to second on an outfield throwing error. Leydon reached third on a ground out and, following a walk, scored on a fielder's choice by junior first baseman Monny Strickland (Egg Harbor Township, NJ/Egg Harbor Township). Strickland advanced all the way to third on the combination of a balk and a wild pitch. He scored on a two-out infield error.
Facing a 5-1 deficit, Rutgers-Camden battled back with single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings against Rowan senior starter Andrew Cohen (Monroe Township, NJ/Monroe Township). Cohen, who hiked his record to 2-4 with the win, worked six-plus innings, allowing nine hits and four runs, three of them earned. He struck out eight before being relieved by senior Rob Grilli (Middletown, NJ/Middletown South). Grilli worked out of trouble in the seventh inning, allowing only an inherited runner to score, and ended up working three shutout innings of four-hit ball for his second save. He struck out two.
In the fifth inning, Raptor sophomore second baseman Chris Jones (Washington Township, NJ/Bishop Eustace Prep) hit a leadoff single, reached second on a throwing error on a fielder's choice and scored on a single by Carter. In the sixth, a double by freshman shortstop Nolan Gerold (Merchantville, NJ/Camden Catholic) was followed by a RBI single from Tedeschi.
The Raptors cut the gap to 5-4 in the seventh on a leadoff triple by senior catcher Jon Theckston (Gloucester City, NJ/Gloucester Catholic), who scored ahead of a throw home when freshman third baseman Matthew Stoots (Browns Mills, NJ/Pemberton) reached on a fielder's choice. That play marked the final batter for Cohen and Grilli pitched into and out of a jam as the Raptors left the bases loaded for the second time in the game. Overall, Rutgers-Camden left 11 runners on base and hit into two double plays. One of those twin killings came in the eighth inning after Jones doubled and Theckston singled with one out, placing the tying run at third.
While the Scarlet Raptors were chipping away at the deficit, Welsher and, later, sophomore reliever Steven Bloyed (North Brunswick, NJ/North Brunswick) were helping shut out the Profs over the final five innings. Bloyed ended up working two innings of one-hit shutout relief, striking out one.
Carter and Gerold both collected three hits for the Scarlet Raptors, while Jones, Theckston and Tedeschi had two apiece. Tedeschi led the team with two RBIs.
The Scarlet Raptors host Ramapo College Saturday in an 11:30 a.m. NJAC doubleheader.