CLEARWATER, Fla. (May 21, 2013) – Rutgers baseball is the No. 5 seed in the 2013 BIG EAST Championships and will face No. 4 USF in the first round Wednesday at 8 p.m. RU has never played USF in the postseason and is 25-21 in 12 appearances in this event, having won it in 1998, 2000 and 2007.
The Scarlet Knights and Bulls are also in the same group as No. 1 Louisville and No. 8 Connecticut. The four teams will play a double-elimination bracket for the right to advance to Sunday’s championship game. RU went 5-4 against its group during the regular season. The other bracket features No. 2 Seton Hall, No. 3 Pittsburgh, No. 6 St. John’s and No. 7 Notre Dame. This will be the last time Rutgers competes in a BIG EAST event in any sport.
The 2013 BIG EAST Championships will be staged at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., the Spring Training home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Regarded as one of the finest minor league playing and practice facilities in the nation, the stadium will host its seventh BIG EAST Championships. The site first hosted the conference tournament in 2006 and has been the league’s championship destination for six of the last seven years.
All games will be broadcast live online via ESPN3.
The Scarlet Knights (26-28, 14-10) have been in Florida since May 15, having played a series at USF to end the regular season … RU dropped the first two and won the finale … the Scarlet Knights have never played the final game of the first round in the BIG EAST Championships … the offense has collected 87 hits over the last six games, hitting .387 as a team over that stretch … racked up double-digit hits in 24 games this season … runners have stolen 12 consecutive bases without being caught … walked in every game, averaging 4.4 per contest (10 or more on five occasions) … 13 sacrifice flies in the last nine game after having just nine in the first 45 contests … nine of the team’s 11 triples have been hit at home … 20-2 record when scoring at least six runs in a game … the best scoring inning has been the fifth (48 runs) … RU third in the BIG EAST with 26 home runs for the season … catchers have the least amount of passed balls in the conference (four) … pitching staff allowed the second-least amount of walks in conference games (77) and defense is second in the league with a .976 fielding percentage … the 14 saves are tied for the most in a single season in program history (1987, 2000) … 320 strikeouts recorded are the eight-highest total for a season in school history … RU played a challenging schedule, going 2-11 against ranked opponents … 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 … ended up 12-6 at home, winning three of the four BIG EAST series … played 10 road weekends.
Head coach Fred Hill enters the tournament with 1,087 wins, 13th-most amongst active coaches … he is 45-34-1 in conference tournaments with eight championships (five in the Atlantic 10, three in the BIG EAST) … second in BIG EAST history with 267 conference wins … skippered 1,843 collegiate games and 1,602 for Rutgers … all of his assistants played for him at Rutgers.
Freshman Howie Brey (Middletown, N.J.) leads the team with 24 outings on the mound … stranded 68 percent of inherited runners … surrendered just three runs over last eight appearances (10.2 innings).
Junior Lou Clemente (Union, N.J.) collected three RBIs in two starts at designated hitter at USF … recorded a hit in seven of the last nine games appeared.
Senior Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) has made 21 appearances and has been in the pitching rotation the last three weeks … leads the team with six saves … permitted just four extra base hits over 49 innings this year.
Junior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) has started the last 141 games, the 14th-longest streak in the nation … has played second base and batted second in every game this season … went 8-for-13 (.533) in the series at USF … leads team with 185 career hits and 116 runs … hitting .500 (15-for-30) over his last seven games … fifth in the league with a .379 batting average in conference games … tied for team lead with 12 stolen bases … team-leading 19 multiple-hit games.
Senior Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) has transitioned to being the closer after making 10 starts … has 16 career saves, the second-most in school history … Freshman All-America after recording 12 saves in rookie year … third in the RU record books with 297.1 career innings and seventh with 159 strikeouts … career walks per nine rate of 1.85.
Senior Sam Hasty (Brooklyn, N.Y.) has the lowest ERA on the pitching staff at 2.08 … struck out two in a perfect inning versus Georgetown in last appearance … has never made an error.
Senior Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) went 5-for-6 with four runs scored in the doubleheader against Georgetown … has played in 133 career games … needs two hits to reach 100 for his career … fielding percentage of .989 this year at first base, having made just one error in the last 20 games defensively .
Redshirt freshman John Jennings (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) went 5-for-12 (.417) in three starts in the USF series … has made just one error in 15 starts at shortstop … three multi-hit games in the last four … reached base 8-of-12 times when leading off an inning … hit .333 in 11 BIG EAST starts.
Junior Charlie Lasky (Freehold, N.J.) is a perfect 5-0 in 35 career appearances.
Senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) is one of 20 players from across the nation that are weekend starting pitchers and regular hitters … has been the pitcher/designated hitter in his last nine starts on the mound … notched 12 RBIs in games pitched … leads the team with 46 RBIs hitting and 73 strikeouts pitching … the strikeout total is tied for the third-most in a single RU season … hitting .418 (28-for-67) with runners in scoring position and has knocked in 22 runs with two outs … 18 multiple-hit games … tied for first with five BIG EAST pitching wins.
Freshman Corey Lerche’s (West Nyack, N.Y.) first career hit was a go-ahead home run in extra innings at Richmond.
Senior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) has started 51 of the 54 games at catcher … leads the league with 21 runners caught stealing … a league low three passed ball behind the plate … picked off four runners at first base … leads team with six home runs this season, including two in the USF series … successfully knocked in a runner from third with less than two out in 18-of-25 situations … recorded at least one RBI in nine of the last 10 games … reached base in the last 13 games.
Junior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) had a team-high 14-game hitting streak earlier this season … started every game in center field … hitting .375 over last six games … recorded 126 putouts defensively.
Senior Nathaniel Roe (Plainfield, N.J.) picked up the win in the last game at USF, sitting down eight in a row during one stretch in relief … 58 career appearances and 21 this season … pitched in back-to-back games six times … four strikeouts in two appearances at USF to surpass 100 for his RU career (102) … stranded 64 percent of inherited runners.
Senior Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) has beaten every BIG EAST team in his career (plus West Virginia) … his 43 appearances in BIG EAST games is the second-most in conference history … second in RU history with 308.1 innings pitched, needing 8.2 frames to tie for the record … second in the school books with 43 starts … third with 200 strikeouts and tied for third with 22 victories … making at least 15 starts in a season for the second straight year … career ERA of 3.71.
Junior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) has 99 career hits … successfully completed 88 of his last 91 chances at shortstop over 22 games.
Freshman Matt Tietz (West Milford, N.J.) was named the NJCBA Division I Rookie Player of the Year … leads team with 14 doubles … entered the lineup March 9 and has started the past 44 games as the leadoff hitter and third baseman … picked up at least one hit in 14 of the last 16 games … leads team with 10 sacrifice bunts.
Sophomore Jon Young (Old Bridge, N.J.) did not allow a run or hit in 3.1 innings of relief in opener at USF.
Sophomore Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) won the league batting title after hitting .407 in conference games, becoming the third Scarlet Knight in four years to take the honor … went 8-for-15 (.533) in the series at USF earn a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll … leads team with 71 hits … average has been above .324 all season … tied for team lead with 12 stolen bases … 18 multiple-hit games.
Senior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) has appeared in 168 games in his career, making 142 starts … 143 hits and 80 runs in his career … fourth in the BIG EAST with a .451 on base percentage this season … drawn 18 walks in conference games … hitting 9-for-22 (.409) over his last six games.
Rutgers has won 399 games during the tenure of head equipment manager John Reardon.
2013 BIG EAST Baseball Championship Schedule
Tuesday, May 21
Opening Ceremonies/Award Presentations/Home Run Derby - Gates open at 6 p.m.; ceremonies begin at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 22 - Four games
(ESPN3 and BigEastBaseball.com)
Game 1 – No. 6 St. John’s (23-33) vs. No. 3 Pittsburgh (40-15), 10 a.m.
Game 2 – No. 7 Notre Dame (31-23) vs. No. 2 Seton Hall (36-17), 1 p.m.
Game 3 – No. 8 Connecticut (30-25) vs. No. 1 Louisville (46-10), 5 p.m.
Game 4 – No. 5 Rutgers (26-28) vs. No. 4 USF (35-20), 8 p.m.
Thursday, May 23 - Four games
(ESPN3 and BigEastBaseball.com)
Game 5 – Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2, 10 a.m.
Game 6 – Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2, 1 p.m.
Game 7 – Loser of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4, 5 p.m.
Game 8 – Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4, 8 p.m.
Friday, May 24 - Two games
(ESPN3 and BigEastBaseball.com)
Game 9 – Loser of Game 6 vs. Winner of Game 5, 4 p.m.
Game 10 – Loser of Game 8 vs. Winner of Game 7, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 25 - Two, three, or four games
(ESPN3 and BigEastBaseball.com)
Game 11 – Winner of Game 6 vs. Winner of Game 9, 10 a.m.
Game 12 – Winner of Game 8 vs. Winner of Game 10, 1 p.m.
Game 13 – Loser of Game 11 vs. Winner of Game 11, 5 p.m. (if necessary)
Game 14 – Loser of Game 12 vs. Winner of Game 12, 6:30 p.m. or 8 p.m.
(if necessary; game would be at 6:30 if Game 13 is not necessary, 8 p.m. otherwise)
Sunday, May 26 - Championship game
(live television on ESPNU)
Game 15 – Winner of Group 1 vs. Winner of Group 2, Noon