Tribe baseball was swept by Rutgers in its first three-game series of the season over the weekend and fell to 3-4 after losing to #30 NC State, 10-4, on Tuesday.
Despite his team’s loss, junior Joe Kantakevich was named CAA co-pitcher of the weak for his performance in the final game of the series against Rutgers. Kantakevich only yielded two hits and one unearned run in eight innings of work, striking out six along the way. He had pitched in long relief in the season opener against Georgetown but shined in his first start of the year.
“Compared to Georgetown [Rutgers’s hitters] were much better,” said Kantakevich. “They had a lot of power, but were mostly hitting line drives.” Rutgers starter senior Aaron Kalb matched Kantakevich’s effort through eight innings, halting the Tribe offense, which had put up an early run when senior designated hitter Mike DeCarlo hit an RBI single to score freshman left fielder Brent McWhorter, who was 3-for-4 on the day.
Kantakevich took a no-hitter almost through six innings, having given up an unearned run, but credited his defense for their effort on the day.
“They played great behind me,” said Kantakevich, who is expected to start again this weekend when the Tribe hosts Radford. “They were making all the plays and I was getting pretty lucky.”
Rutgers’s senior Cory Rodriguez hit a three-run single in the ninth off of junior lefthander Joe Roenker, and the Scarlet Knights’s Stephen Holt pitched the ninth to pick up the save.
Sophomore Michael LaFleur gave up five runs and 10 hits in five and two-thirds innings in the second game and fell to 1-1 on the season, as the offense only managed three runs on the day.
The Rutgers bats had their biggest day in the series opener, winning 11-5, putting up five runs on Tribe senior reliever Jeff Dagenhart. Junior lefthander Forrest Cory received a no-decision after allowing four runs, three earned, and striking out seven in five innings.
“The Rutgers pitching wasn’t anything great, but they got the job done,” said McWhorter, who hit .500 in the series. “They picked up on the fact that we would chase high fastballs and used that to make us pop out all weekend long.”
After scoring 44 runs in the opening series against Georgetown and against Norfolk State, the Tribe only managed to put nine runs across the plate in three games against the Scarlet Knights.
“We expected a good series from Rutgers because they always give us competitive games,” said McWhorter. “We didn’t expect to be swept. Last year we won two of three and this year we expected nothing less. It was their first series of the year and they jumped out of the shoot swinging. I think it surprised us a little bit.” The Tribe followed the weekend’s games with a 10-4 loss to the Wolfpack, in which N.C. State jumped out ahead early and did not look back. Junior southpaw Sean Sosonko was charged with the loss after allowing six runs on eight hits in four innings of work.
William & Mary hosts Radford for a three-game series beginning on Friday.