Rutgers scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday to beat the Illinois baseball team 8-7 at Bainton Field. The Scarlet Knights clinched the series 2-1 with the win.
Illinois (22-26, 8-13 Big Ten) is still alive in the race to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament, but needs help going into the final weekend of regular season play.
Rutgers (19-29, 7-11 Big Ten) scored its four ninth-inning runs on two walks and three singles off of Illini closer Joey Gerber (2-1). Christian Campbell finished the game with a walk-off single to right center field to score Mike Martinez with two outs. Martinez provided the first two RBI of the ninth on a single through the right side, before Tom Marcinzyk plated a run on a ground out to set up Campbell's heroics.
It took Illinois only five batters to grab a 2-0 lead in the first inning, an advantage the Illini took all the way to the ninth. Illinois' lead reached as big as 6-1 in the fourth inning.
Mark Skonieczny led the lineup with two hits and a career-high three RBIs. He blasted a two-run triple in the first and plated another run on a ground out in the third.
Illinois starter Matthew James exited with a 6-4 lead in the seventh but had to settle for a no-decision. He tied his career high with six innings pitched for the third straight outing, allowing four runs on seven hits and striking out three without surrendering a walk.
Four Scarlet Knights relievers combined to throw 5 1/3 innings and allow one run on four hits, while striking out eight. Illinois did most of its damage off of starter John O'Reilly, who was tagged for six runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Rutgers pitching limited the Illini to 1 for 16 (.063) with runners in scoring position. Illinois left 13 runners on base.