Rutgers improves to 16-6 behind Sinibaldi's complete game shutout

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights Baseball team took the first game of their home series with UConn Friday afternoon. While the Scarlet Knights have been winning plenty of games with their offense, this time, it was their pitching that took center stage.

Senior southpaw Justin Sinibaldi toed the slab for Rutgers and was lights out right from his first pitch. Sinibaldi began his day with three quick outs on routinely hit balls in play. The Knights threatened in the bottom of the inning but couldn't capitalize with runners at the corners and two outs.

The missed opportunity on offense didn't matter. Sinibaldi was untouchable, not allowing a hit until the fourth inning and striking out seven Huskies through five. Through seven innings of work, the senior had nine punchouts and allowed two hits. 

While the pitching was dominant, the ordinarily explosive Rutgers offense struggled to get much going against UConn starter Gabe Van Emon. Through six innings of play, the game was tied at zero, with both teams not wanting to waste a quality start from their pitcher.

The bottom of the seventh started with a bang for the Scarlet Knights. Tony Santa Maria muscled a 2-2 fastball over the right field wall to put Rutgers on the board, 1-0. After Josh Kuroda-Grauer singled, Pete Durocher reached on an error by Van Emon, putting runners at the corners for the red-hot Ty Doucette.

Doucette singled up the middle, scoring Kuroda-Grauer and extending the Scarlet Knights lead to 2-0. Rutgers added a third run in the inning with a beautiful safety squeeze from Johnny Volpe.

The three runs were enough for Sinibaldi, who sent the Huskies down in order in the eighth and finished the game in the ninth for a 3-0 Scalet Knights win.

Historic Performance 

The complete game shutout from Sinibaldi was Rutgers baseball's first complete game since Howie Brey did it in 2016 against Penn State. The win improves Sinibaldi's record to 4-0 on the season, ending the game with nine strikeouts, one walk, and allowing just four hits.

The Scarlet Knights are now 16-6 on the year and look to take Game 2 of the series (weather permitting) Saturday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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