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Poets give up 4-1 lead in ninth; Fall 7-4 to Rutgers-Newark

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College baseball team who had both games yesterday against Berry and Eastern Connecticut St. canceled due to rain was able to get in their game against Rutgers-Newark but gave up a three run lead in the ninth to lose 7-4.

The Poets are now 10-11, 5-7 SCIAC and finish up the California Invitational with a game against No. 2 Kean this afternoon. 

Junior Taylor Fallon who has moved into a starting role just recently pitched a gem going 8.0 innings giving up one run on four hits to go with five strikeouts.  He was relieved by senior Mike Rueda who came in to close it in the ninth but he was hit hard giving up five runs on three hits surrendering the lead giving him the loss moving his record to 1-2.

Whittier got on the scoreboard first with two runs in the third after Austin Straus singled to left and advanced to third behind a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch.  Alex Mitchell then drove him in with a single up the middle.  Mitchell then stole second and then stole third and due to a throwing error he scored putting the Poets up 2-0. 

Rutgers-Newark added a run in the ensuing inning to cut the Poet lead to one and had runners in scoring position to do more damage but Fallon stranded them having Miller ground into a double play and then sat down Napolitano on strikes. 

The Poets offense didn't go away though as they added another two runs in their half of the sixth behind a single up the middle by A. Mitchell who scored on Andrew Vallejo's hit up the middle.  Vallejo then stole second and advanced to third behind Cody Martinez' groundout to first and was then driven in by Nick Amicone' s double to left center that helped the Purple & Gold take a 4-1 lead.

But Rutgers made a comeback and jumped all over Poet closer Rueda who managed grabbing one out  surrendering five runs behind two singles, a double, and two walks.  He was then relieved by Curtis Martin who recorded the final two outs and in the Poets bottom half of the inning they were shut down one, two, three.

Whittier was led on offense by A. Mitchell who finished 3-4 with two runs, while Vallejo continues swinging a hot bat finishing 2-4 with a run and an RBI.