PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Led by a complete-game effort from junior Howie Brey, Rutgers earned a 5-3 victory against No. 18 Iowa in the series opener Thursday at Bainton Field. It was the first win for the Scarlet Knights against a ranked opponent since taking down No. 10 Houston on April 5, 2014 at home.
Tossing nine innings for the second time in his career (fourth complete game overall), Brey (3-7) logged the longest RU start of the year. A lefthander, he scattered nine hits and four walks, but left 10 Iowa runners stranded on base in the 121-pitch outing. He picked up 17 outs through the air and struck out two.
Holding a 5-3 lead in the top of the eighth, Brey surrendered a lead-off bunt single. The Hawkeyes then put on a hit-and-run, but the ball was grounded right to junior Chris Suseck at second, who stepped on the base and wheeled to first for the double play. Junior R.J. Devish then captured a pop behind home plate to end the inning.
Iowa threatened in the ninth inning with two consecutive hits with two down to board the tying runs. However, Brey induced a routine fly to right to seal the victory.
Offensively, Rutgers registered nine hits on the day. Senior Vinny Zarrillo and freshman Kyle Walker both notched a double and a single, as seven of the nine starters marked the hit column. Zarrillo joined sophomore Tom Marcinczyk with two RBIs apiece.
After nothing came across in the first two innings, Rutgers (18-34-1, 6-16) broke through with three in the third. Sophomore Christian Campbell drew a walk and junior John Jennings was drilled by a pitch to put two aboard with no outs. After Zarrillo bunted both up a base, senior Joe D'Annunzio was walked on four pitches to load the bags. Marcinczyk came up next and fell behind 0-2, but worked the count even after fouling off several pitches and laced a two-run single to plate the first runs of the day. The Hawkeyes recorded the second out before Walker stepped up with two down and slammed an RBI double down the right field line.
Iowa (37-13, 18-4) got one back on three hits in the top of the fourth, but Brey left two on to limit the damage. RU immediately responded with two in its part of the fourth. Devish was beaned by a ball to start and moved up on a one-out single by Campbell. Following a groundout that moved both runners up by Jennings, Zarrillo slashed a two-out, two-run double to expand the lead to 5-1.
The game was then 5-3 in the top of the fifth following a two-out RBI single by UI's Nick Roscetti, but that proved to be all the scoring on the day.
Tyler Peyton (6-4) took the loss for the visitors with five runs permitted in 3.2 innings. Roscetti led all players in the game with three hits. Iowa had won 14 of 16 games entering the weekend and sits in second place in the Big Ten standings.