RU Falls in NCAA Opener - Resumes Saturday

No. 23 Rutgers had its four-game winning streak snapped with a 5-1 loss to defending National Champion No. 25 Oregon State in front of 2,097 fans in its NCAA Baseball Regional opener Friday night at Davenport Field on the campus of the University of Virginia.

Rutgers will play Lafayette in an elimination game tomorrow at Davenport Field at 1:00 p.m. The Scarlet Knights defeated the Leopards, 6-1, earlier this season at Bainton Field.

"First, we have to give credit to Oregon State," said Rutgers head coach Fred Hill. "They have good hitters and their pitcher was strong. I thought we played well early but just couldn't produce any runs in the late innings. We have to bounce back tomorrow and keep going in this tournament."

Rutgers (41-20) struck first in the nightcap of a doubleheader, which saw top-seed Virginia earn a 5-1 victory over Lafayette. Following a 1-2-3 inning for Scarlet Knight ace Steve Healing (Brick, N.J.), RU went to work. Junior National Player of the candidate Todd Frazier (Toms River, N.J.) took the first pitch he saw to the gap in left-center field for a lead-off double, was sacrificed over and scored two plays later on a Dave Williams (Franklin, N.J.) single through the left side.

Oregon State (39-17) loaded the bases with no outs in the second, but Healing got a key strikeout and rebounded from a run-producing infield error to induce a pair of groundouts and get out of the jam with just one run allowed.

The Beavers opened the third with three-consecutive singles to take a 2-1 lead on the Scarlet Knights. Healing once again rebounded from a dangerous situation that had runners on the corners and nobody out. He recorded a big strikeout, then got a fielder's choice and a groundout to hold the Beavers to the one-run edge.

Healing got a quick two outs in the fifth, but OSU rallied in the frame with four straight hits, including a two-run double by John Wallace and an RBI double by Scott Santschi to extend the Beavers lead to 5-1.

Rutgers threatened in the sixth when Frazier doubled to lead off the frame, but was tagged out on the next play trying to advance to third on a flyout to center on an excellent relay in from the outfield. Junior Ryan Hill (Hillsdale, N.J.) followed with a double down the right-field line and Williams walked to put a pair of Scarlet Knights on with two outs. Sophomore Tom Edwards (Caldwell, N.J.) brought the RU faithful to their feet with a hard shot to left field but the ball fell just short, coming down in the left-fielder's glove at the warning track for the final out.

Healing struck out five and allowed four earned runs (five total) on 10 hits in five innings, dropping his first decision in his last 10 starts to move to 10-4 on the year. His counterpart, Joe Paterson of OSU, pitched six innings, yielding just the first-inning run while allowing five hits and striking out three and improving to 8-6. Reliever Daniel Turpen posted his first save of the season with three shutout innings.

Frazier collected two hits in the contest to move into a tie Bill McCarthy (2001) for fourth-place on the school's single-season hits chart with 91 this season.

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