WAYNE, N.J. – The rugged schedule the Rutgers-Camden baseball team played down south apparently has prepared the Scarlet Raptors for the northern part of their season.
Rutgers-Camden opened its New Jersey Athletic Conference schedule here Sunday with a doubleheader sweep over powerful William Paterson University, 8-4 and 5-1. The Raptors have won three straight games since returning from spring break in Florida, raising their record to 5-8 overall and 2-0 in the NJAC.
The Pioneers, who received votes last week toward both the ABCA/Collegiate Baseball and the D3baseball.com national polls, fall to 12-4 overall and 0-2 in the conference. The twinbill against Paterson marked the 10th and 11th games, out of 13, that Rutgers-Camden has played against teams ranked, or receiving votes toward, at least one of the two major Top 25 national polls.
Paterson leads the all-time series, 51-14, but Rutgers-Camden has won six of the last seven games, including three last season – two in the regular season and one in the NJAC playoffs.
The Scarlet Raptors finally open their home season when they host Penn State-Abington Monday at 3:30 p.m. in a non-conference makeup game that has been postponed twice already this season. Originally scheduled for March 5, it was postponed to March 26 before being postponed again.
Rutgers-Camden 8, William Paterson 4
The Scarlet Raptors broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the top of the seventh inning on the way to winning their NJAC opener. Junior designated hitter Joe Sigismondi (Blackwood, NJ/Highland Regional) opened the frame with a single down the right field line. He advanced on a bunt single by sophomore right fielder Zach Ellin (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) and both players advanced on a one-out wild pitch. With two outs, sophomore shortstop Pedro Perez (Burlington, NJ/Burlington City) had a two-run single to center field. Perez stole second and scored on a single to right-center by sophomore catcher Jon Theckston (Gloucester, NJ/Gloucester Catholic).
Rutgers-Camden tacked on its final two runs in the ninth when Ellin reached on an error, advanced on a single by sophomore second baseman Joe Brooks (Blackwood, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) and scored on a single by senior first baseman Connor Hall (Delran, NJ/Delran). Theckston capped the frame with a RBI double.
The Raptors jumped out to a quick lead on a two-run double by Hall in the first inning and added a run in the fifth on a run-scoring single by Perez. Paterson scored single runs in the third, fifth and sixth before the Raptors broke open the game in the seventh.
Senior Jeff Singer (Cinnaminson, NJ/Holy Cross) worked the first six innings to pick up the win and even his record at 1-1. He allowed seven hits, three earned runs and three walks, while striking out six. Junior Ryan Sullivan (Livingston, NJ/Livingston) earned his first save with three innings of relief work, allowing one hit and one earned run.
Hall went 3-for-5 with one run, three RBIs and two doubles for the Raptors, while Perez was 2-for-5 with three RBIs and one run and Theckston went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Ellin scored three times and Sigismondi added two runs scored.
The Raptors out-hit the Pioneers, 11-8. Sophomore center fielder Mike Abate (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Hills) went 2-for-3 with two runs for Paterson.
Rutgers-Camden 5, William Paterson 1
The Scarlet Raptors didn't get a hit off of Paterson sophomore Mike Sasso (West Orange, NJ/Montclair Kimberley) until the sixth inning, but they still took an early lead. They notched a pair of unearned runs in the first inning on a pair of walks and two errors. Two runs scored on a two-out infield error on a ball hit by Perez.
The Raptors added another unearned run in the fifth after junior third baseman Brett Tenuto (Audubon, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) reached on an error. He stole second, advanced on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Sigismondi.
Rutgers-Camden finally broke up the no-hitter when Brooks led off the sixth inning with a single down the right field line. He stole second and advanced to third on a one-out single by Perez, which chased Sasso. He was squeezed home by sophomore pinch-hitter Tim Holder (Sewell, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) and another pinch-hitter, senior Adam Bartholomew (Haddon Heights, NJ/Bishop Eustace) followed with a run-scoring single through the right side.
While the Raptors' offense was making the most out of its opportunities, junior Billy Jackson (Estell Manor, NJ/Buena) was dealing shutout ball on the mound. Jackson held the Pioneers off the board until they scored an unearned run on a two-out error in the seventh inning. Jackson (2-1) worked eight innings of four-hit ball, allowing only the one unearned run. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter.
Junior Kyle Gaff (Gloucester City, NJ/Gloucester City) closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning, allowing only a leadoff walk before inducing a double play.
Perez went 2-for-4 with one run to lead the four-hit Rutgers-Camden attack.