Scarlet Raptors Ride 5-Run Inning to Complete Comeback Against Widener
Friday afternoon by the Camden Waterfront the Scarlet Raptors of Rutgers-Camden welcomed the Widener Pride for some D3 baseball. First pitch was scheduled for 3:30 and it was exactly then that Rutgers-Camden’s starting pitcher John Kasper threw the first pitch of the ballgame. Both teams went scoreless after the first inning and it was looking like it could shape up to be a pitchers duel. After a few errors and the bases loaded in the top of the second, Widener’s Trey Tobinus drove a ball to the right-center gap to clear the bases and drive in 3 runs on a double. In the bottom of the second, Rutgers-Camden went down in order bringing the game to the top of the 3rd. After Kyle Brex doubled to lead off the inning, Anthony Bocc hit a single to left to advance Brex to third. Widener’s Bryce Fremgen hit into a double play, but Brex was able to score on the play bringing the score to 4-0 in favor of the Pride.
RUC would yet again go scoreless in the bottom of the 3rd. Aaron Nuble led off the inning with a single to right and Trey Tobinus would lay down a swinging bunt back to the pitcher that advanced Nuble to second. Jason Morgan came up next and hit a routine groundball to short that surely would’ve given the Scarlet Raptors a second out but, on an error by the first baseman, Aaron Nuble was able to score from second and Morgan reached first safely. Kyle Brex singled up the middle but was thrown out at second trying his luck at second. To end the inning, Anthony Bocc was out at first on an unassisted putout at first. Yet again for the 4th inning in a row, the Scarlet Raptors could not get on the board.
With minimal sign of life, RUC’s John Kasper sat down the Widener batters in order, holding them scoreless in the 5th and finding his stride. In the bottom of the 5th, the Scarlet Raptors found life after gaining momentum from Kasper’s 1-2-3 inning. With two on and one out, Jack Murphy reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Chris Bonafiglia while Andrew Brown was thrown out caught in a rundown between second and third base. After a Jake Guglielmi single, Jesse Gerdes doubled to right-center, scoring both Murphy and Guglielmi. RUC had finally found life and started to capitalize. After Widener had committed an error in the field, it allowed Jesse Gerdes to score to bring the score to 5-4 still in favor of Widener. Danny Vazquez was set to hit after Garrett Warner had reached safely and advanced to second on that previous Widener error. Vazquez squeezed a ball past the second baseman which scored Warner and that tied the ballgame up at 5 a piece. Vazquez would be caught stealing later in the inning. RUC’s Kasper had yet again another 1-2-3 inning and Widener was officially stunned with no answer in the 6th. The Scarlet Raptors went 1-2-3 as well in the 6th bringing up an opportunity for Widener to finally answer back. Zach Cerveny came in to relieve the outstanding bulldog performance of Kasper withstanding early adversity in his outing. The southpaw immediately picked up where Kasper left off and sat down the Pride batters in order yet again.
With the bases loaded and one out, Garrett Warner had a chance to break the tie and give the Scarlet Raptors the lead. Warner shot a single to left and Jack Murphy and Jake Guglielmi came in on an error on the same play giving Rutgers-Camden a two run lead. Danny Vazquez laid a bunt down the third base line and everyone was safe which set up R.J. McGettigan with the bases loaded. McGettigan hit a routine fly ball to right and allowed Jesse Gerdes to score from third who earlier reached on a hit by pitch. Frankie Romond ended the big inning with a ground ball to the shortstop who tagged second base for the third out. Cerveny held Widener scoreless again in the top of the 8th even ending the inning picking off Widener’s Justin Costa at first base. The Scarlet Raptors were put out in order in the bottom of the 8th, leaving them three outs away from completing a comeback win. Finally in the top of the 9th, Zach Cerveny shut the door officially on the Widener comeback attempt and the Scarlet Raptors rejoiced after a come from behind win over out of conference rival, Widener.
RUC starter John Kasper said that he feels “well adjusted and acquainted” with the field conditions being that the field is on the waterfront, there will be lots and lots of wind early in the season. “I like this field a lot, the wind comes with it. I just make sure to pound the zone at any time in any weather”. Winning pitcher Zach Cerveny’s message to himself coming into a tie game was to “Do my job and make sure my guys get another chance to bat and take the lead”. Cerveny said that once the lead was broken that he felt he had full control over the game. And that is exactly what happened as he didn’t let a single batter get a hit in his 3 innings of relief. Head Coach Ryan Kulik had said to his team after gathering them together in the middle of the 4th inning and had said “This game is not about how you start, it’s about how you finish”. “Credit to those guys even when the game was tied and after we had taken the lead they were still competing and putting together great at bats but our guys dug deep and found a way to win.” Kulik made sure that in a very meaningful game to go to his starter John Kasper who he feels has a “bulldog mentality” after still fighting despite tough breaks in the field and being faced with a 5-0 deficit early in his outing. In a game where both Widener and Rutgers-Camden have Jersey heavy rosters, Kulik stated “It felt just like an NJAC game. Both programs recruit guys from the same area so there’s a good chance our guys have faced off in high school or summer travel ball in some capacity.”
Chris Baker from NJ Athletics. You can reach Chris on Twitter (@cbake_51) or you can reach him by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Be sure to check out NJ Athletics on Instagram (@njathletics) and on Twitter (@nj_athletcis)