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Frustrations mount for Baseball in Doubleheader Sweep by Rutgers

March 30, 2018
Sophomore center fielder Justin Antoncic (18) attempts to hit the ball during the game against Rutgers on March 30, 2018 at McLane Baseball Stadium. The Spartans  fell to the Scarlet Knights, 6-4.
Sophomore center fielder Justin Antoncic (18) attempts to hit the ball during the game against Rutgers on March 30, 2018 at McLane Baseball Stadium. The Spartans fell to the Scarlet Knights, 6-4. —
Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

Baseball was unable to stop their slide Friday at McLane Baseball Stadium, dropping their seventh and eighth games in a row, to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights by scores of 8-4 and 6-4. 

Two big innings did the Spartans in today, as Rutgers put up five runs in the fifth inning of the first game and four runs in the fourth inning of game two. 

Both Spartan starters took losses: junior Riley McCauley in game one and redshirt senior Ethan Landon in the second game.

Spartan head coach Jake Boss Jr. was disappointed, but thought the two pitchers fought hard despite their one-inning struggles.

“We threw great with the exception of two innings,” he said. “They singled us to death. They didn’t hit that many balls hard. They hit a triple in the first game hard and a double in the second game hard, but it happened so quick, there wasn’t really enough time to get anybody loose in the pen.”

The Spartan offense did come alive in the late innings two times, scoring two runs in the eighth during game one and three runs in the late innings of game two. 

Boss said gives that that late offense demonstrates that the team is continuing to fight despite the recent struggles. He also commented on the team trying to work pitch counts deeper and be more patient at the plate.

“I think we get away from it at times still, but give our guys credit, they continue to fight, scratch, and claw to get themselves back in it,” he said. “We gave ourselves a chance in the 8th and the 9th. It’s just unfortunate that Rutgers made plays when they had to. Gotta give them credit.”

There were some defensive struggles, as the Spartans made four total errors on the day. Coach Boss scoffed at the notion that the team’s offensive struggles had anything to do with those mistakes.

“We separate the game fairly well from an offensive-to-defense perspective,” he said. “I think occasionally with some of our younger guys they take at-bats out to the field.”

Boss did say had the errors not occurred, particularly in the second game, there may very well have been a different outcome.

“We weren’t very clean in the second game, I think we gave them three runs, and you end up losing by two,” he said. “We talked about being sloppy in practice, and we haven’t really gotten the carryover. We’re too sloppy right now to overcome the offensive struggles.”

The doubleheader was played because of the threat of inclement weather this weekend. Today’s second game represents the game that will not be played Sunday. Boss denied the notion that the doubleheader had anything to do with the team’s mentality.

He called the day “frustrating” multiple times postgame.

“Everybody is struggling, everybody wants to be the guy, everybody is pressing right now, which is understandable when it’s not going well,” Boss said.

The series with 15-9 Rutgers resumes Saturday at 1:05 at McLane Baseball Stadium. 

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