Memphis, TN-A three-run fourth was enough for Rutgers to even the conference series Friday night as the Scarlet Knights claimed a 7-0 victory over Memphis.
It was a defensive battle early as right-handed pitcher Jon Reed struck out four batters through the first three innings. In the fourth, Rutgers (28-23) quickly grabbed a 3-0 lead with three-straight hits to begin the frame. Nick Favatella led off with a double to left center before Joe D’Annunzio singled to set up a three-run home run to right center by Vinny Zarrillo.
Memphis (28-27) put two runners on with two outs in the fifth as Zach Schritenthal singled before Ethan Gross was hit by a pitch. However, a foul out to the catcher ended the Tigers chance to trim their deficit.
Kane Barrow was the second Tiger to reach scoring position in the game after a one-out double in the sixth. Memphis was unable to capitalize once again as a fly out and another foul out to the catcher ended the inning.
In the seventh, an error by the Memphis infield with two outs ended up hurting the Tigers as a double by Mike Carter pushed the Scarlet Knight lead to 4-0.
Rutgers added three runs in the eighth, beginning the inning with three-straight hits. After a leadoff triple, Zarrillo brought home D’Annunzio for a 5-0 advantage. A one-out double by Tom Marcinczyk scored Zarrillo and Pat Sweeney, who singled earlier in the inning, for a 7-0 score.
Reed (7-3) suffered the loss for Memphis, allowing seven hits, four runs – three earned – and one walk, while striking out six batters in 6.2 innings on the mound. Gaby Rosa (6-2) earned the win for Rutgers, fanning three batters and allowing five hits in 6.0 innings.
The Tigers clinched the No. 8 seed in the American Athletic Conference Tournament after a Cincinnati loss tonight. Memphis will travel to Clearwater, Fla., next week, and will face the No. 1 seed Louisville to begin the tournament. The complete championship schedule will be released Saturday night.
The series finale between the two teams takes place Saturday at 1 p.m. from FedExPark.