PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 2, 2013) – After playing seven straight non-conference games, Rutgers baseball returns to BIG EAST play with an important three-game series against Connecticut at Bainton Field. The Scarlet Knights are in fifth in the standings at 8-7, while the Huskies sit in seventh at 8-10.
RVision will broadcast the first two games of the series live, with Danny Breslauer and Jason Goldstein on the call. WRSU will have the call at 88.7 FM and online for the Saturday and Sunday contests.
For the Friday game, the first 10 students in attendance will receive a Rutgers iPhone cover or tumbler cup. The marketing staff will also run a free raffle with chances to win a $25 Brother Jimmy’s gift certificate, Fred Hill signed baseball, Eddie Jordan signed basketball or a Rutgers prize pack. Fans are also encouraged to support the team’s Vs. Cancer Fundraiser which has brought in over $10,000 towards pediatric cancer research. Following the Sunday game, members of the team and coaching staff plan to shave their heads in support.
PARKING ADVISORY: Fans coming to this weekend’s BIG EAST Track & Field Championships, baseball series with Connecticut and softball match-up with Pittsburgh are encouraged to park in the Green and Yellow Lots on Hospital Road via Suttons Lane.
The Scarlet Knights return to BIG EAST action after playing the last seven games against non-conference opponents … the team is in fifth in the standings at 8-7, with the top eight the top eight qualifying for the BIG EAST Championships in Clearwater, Fla. … RU has made the playoffs in 11 times since 1996 … will be the third home weekend series, having played nine on the road … played 13 games against ranked opponents (2-11) … 7-4 at Bainton Field this season and 84-51-1 (.621) since the surface was installed for the 2007 season … competed in five doubleheaders in 2013 … racked up double-digit hits in 20 games … have drawn a walk in every contest, averaging 4.18 per game … recorded an extra base hit in 35 of the last 36 games … six of the eight triples recorded have come at home … Rutgers is second in the BIG EAST with 21 home runs and 84 doubles this year … third in the league with a .967 field percentage … catchers have totaled the least amount of passed balls (4) in the conference … 29 of the 34 players on the roster are from New Jersey … Rutgers had 23 road games to start the season, most in the nation.
Head coach Fred Hill has 1,081 career victories (13th-most amongst active coaches) in his 37th season at the collegiate level and 933 wins at Rutgers (30th season) … has notched 20 wins in each of his last 29 years at RU … all four coaches on staff played for Hill at Rutgers.
Freshman Howie Brey (Middletown, N.J.) has appeared in five of the last six games … leads the team with 20 appearances this season … has stranded 75 percent of inherited runners (28/7).
Senior Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) will make his second start after giving up no earned runs over five innings last week at Creighton … made a relief outing in the midweek game versus Delaware … has pitched to a 1.93 ERA over his last nine appearances with 18 strikeouts over that stretch … picked up four saves against BIG EAST opponents … the left-hander was the Sunday starter for the first six weeks in 2012 before suffering an injury (3-2, 4.59) … his best start was a complete game shutout at No. 14 Stetson … committed just one error in 46 career appearances for RU … pitched at Duquesne as a freshman before the program was eliminated.
Junior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) has started the last 131 games dating back to his freshman season, 16th best streak in the nation … has started all games batting second in the lineup and playing second base this year … leads team with 169 career hits, 107 runs and nine home runs … notched a hit in 22 of the last 24 games … played errorless ball over the last 25 games (104 chances).
Senior Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) has pitched the third-most innings in school history (286.1) … has sixth-most strikeout in RU history (154) … was an All-American as a closer in 2010 with 12 saves.
Senior Sam Hasty (Brooklyn, N.Y.) pitched a career-long 2.2 innings out of the bullpen Wednesday against Delaware … has not allowed an earned run in three appearances.
Senior Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) went 3-for-6 with a walk in the Pittsburgh series … has 110 career starts.
Redshirt freshman John Jennings (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) has not made an error in seven starts at shortstop.
Junior Charlie Lasky (Freehold, N.J.) is a perfect 5-0 in 34 career relief appearances.
Senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) leads RU with 36 RBIs at the plate and 56 strikeouts on the mound … his 15 RBIs in league games are seventh-most … homered twice with four RBIs at Hofstra Tuesday … has also been the designated hitter in his last five starts on the mound … he is one of 20 players nationally at the Division I level who are weekend starters as well as regular hitters … pitched at least six innings in last six starts (3.40 ERA in that stretch) … will be first time not pitching the last game of a three-game series.
Senior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) has picked off four runners at first base this year from behind the plate … has caught a conference-best 16 runners stealing … started 41 games at catcher with no errors in the last 28 … recorded a hit in nine of the last 10 games.
Junior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) had a team-best 14-game hitting streak earlier this season … one of two players to start all 44 games … recorded 107 putouts in centerfield.
Senior Nathaniel Roe (Plainfield, N.J.) has returned this year after missing 2012 due to Tommy John surgery, making 16 appearances out of the bullpen … has 53 career appearances for the Scarlet Knights.
Senior Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) is scheduled to make his 41st career start, putting him at second in school history … has the second-most innings pitched in program history (292.1) and needs 24.1 to tie Casey Gaynor (2007-10) for the first spot … his 21 wins are tied for fourth-most in the RU record books … 191 strikeouts are third-most in school history … has six career appearances against Connecticut … registered 20 looking strikeouts this year, tied for fifth-most in the BIG EAST.
Junior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) has successfully completed 78 of his last 80 chances at shortstop over 20 games … has 99 career hits.
Freshman Matt Tietz (West Milford, N.J.) entered the lineup March 9 and has started the past 34 games as the leadoff hitter and third baseman … leads the team with 13 doubles … tied for third in the BIG EAST with 10 sacrifice bunts.
Sophomore Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) is tied for third hitting .386 in BIG EAST games … leads team with 55 hits … maintained at least a batting average over .328 all season … has started all but one game in the outfield … batted in six different spots in the lineup.
Senior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) has a team-best on base percentage of .423 (sixth in the league) … leads roster with 158 games played … all five career home runs have been on the road … hitting .380 (16-for-42) over his last 11 games.
The Huskies (27-19, 8-10 BIG EAST) won their two midweek games most recently, but were swept in a road series last weekend at Notre Dame. Bringing a patient approach to the plate, the team is ranked 13th in the nation in walks drawn (214) and 12th being hit by pitch (77). UConn has two players over 20 stolen bases and is 11th in the country with 99 steals as a unit. Veteran LJ Mazzilli leads the attack with a .351 average, 39 runs and 22 steals. On the mound, the staff has pitched to a 3.37 ERA. Friday starter Carson Cross leads the way with 66 strikeouts and a 2.29 ERA over 74.2 innings. Head coach Jim Penders is in his ninth season.
Rutgers holds a 32-27 advantage over Connecticut, but the Huskies took the series last season by winning a doubleheader. The Scarlet Knights won the finale by posting a 15-0 shutout, the biggest margin in a league win since joining the BIG EAST.
Rutgers finish its non-conference schedule with a home game Tuesday against St. Peter’s at 1 p.m. The next BIG EAST series will start Saturday, May 11 at home versus Georgetown.