Piscataway, N.J. – The Nebraska baseball (16-20, 3-8 Big Ten) fell to Rutgers, 4-2, in the series opener between the conference foes at Bainton Field on Friday afternoon.
Senior right-hander Luis Alvarado, who made his 10th start of the season, went 5.2 innings and recorded six strikeouts while allowing three runs on four hits. Reece Eddins came in for 2.1 innings of relief and allowed one run on two hits and struck out one Scarlet Knight.
Nebraska’s first two hitters in the top of the first reached when Mojo Hagge doubled and Scott Schreiber walked. A double play and strikeout ended a scoreless opening frame for the Big Red. Rutgers had one baserunner in the bottom half on a hit-by-pitch, but left him stranded.
NU took a 1-0 lead with one run in the top of the second. Jaxon Hallmark drew a one-out walk before Gunner Hellstrom’s single advanced him to third. A fielder’s choice drove in Hallmark. Ben Klenke singled to advance Zac Repinski to third, but both runners were left stranded. Rutgers tied the game at 1-1 when Dan DiGeorgio hit a home run to left field. The Scarlet Knights put a runner in scoring position later in the inning, but couldn’t bring him in.
The Huskers went down in order in the top of the third. Rutgers managed two baserunners but left them stranded in a scoreless frame.
Angelo Altavilla singled in the leadoff spot in the fourth inning and advanced to second on a groundout, but remained stranded in a scoreless inning for the Huskers. Rutgers took the lead 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth with one run.
Schreiber smashed his team-high 12th home run of the season in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 2-2. Jesse Wilkening reached on an error later in the inning, but he remained stranded. The Scarlet Knights had one baserunner, but he was caught stealing before back-to-back outs ended the inning.
The Huskers went down in order in the top of the sixth. Rutgers took a 3-2 lead with one run in the bottom half of the frame. A leadoff hit-by-pitch followed by a sacrifice bunt got Carmen Sclafani in scoring position before Kyle Walker’s double drove him in.
Repinski drew a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh. He made it to third base with two outs before an inning-ending groundout. Rutgers had one baserunner in the bottom of the seventh, but left him stranded without scoring any runs.
Wilkening was hit-by-pitch in the leadoff spot in the eighth, but a double play followed by a flyout ended NU’s chance to tie the game during the inning. Rutgers tacked on one run in the eighth on one hit to extend its lead to 4-2.
Hallmark drew a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth, but a double play followed by a strikeout ended the game.
The Huskers and Scarlet Knights continue their series on Saturday at noon (CT).