Immaculata product Chris Rini (Flemington, NJ) is one of two pitchers to join the Scarlet Knights. Rini was a First Team All-State, All-County and All-Area pick, posting a 10-1 mark as a junior in 2002. In 62 innings of work, the 6-4, 215-lb. righty struck out 58 while walking just 16. He pitched Immaculata to its sixth-straight Somerset County Championship with a complete-game two-hitter in a 10-1 win over Ridge, after beating Bridgewater-Raritan, 3-2, in the semifinals. As a junior, he hurled three one-hitters and a pair of two-hitters. He owns a 15-2 career record and has walked just 29 hitters in 89 career innings. He is the first pitcher since Bill Malloy to attend Rutgers from Immaculata High School.
“Chris pitched in some big games last season and is one of the top juniors in the state,” said Hill. “He is well-coached and comes from a traditionally-strong high school program that has produced some outstanding college and professional players. He has great control, can throw multiple pitches for strikes and knows how to pitch.”
Toms River South’s Steve Holt (Toms River, NJ) is the second pitcher to join the Scarlet Knights. Yet another top scholastic player from Toms River to join the program, Holt hails from the same high school program that produced current RU players Jeff Frazier and Colin Gaynor. He earned his third-straight save in TRS’ 2-1 victory over No. 1 Ramapo in the Group III championship game, allowing just one hit over the final three innings of action. He was a First Team All-League pick, a Second Team All-Shore pick by the Star Ledger and a third-team All-Shore selection by the Asbury Park Press. Holt was 6-2 with four saves and a 1.20 ERA. In 50.1 innings of action, he allowed just 39 hits, while walking 19 and striking out 70. In the Group III state tournament, he was 2-0 with two saves, striking out 19 in 21 innings while posting a 0.37 ERA.
“Steve is a hard thrower who did a nice job for Toms River South last season,” said Hill. “He got innings as both a starter and reliever and was successful in both roles. We have been fortunate in the past to attract some great players from Toms River and Steve has the potential to add to that list.”
Rutgers also added a South Jersey product in Cherry Hill West’s Tim Querns (Cherry Hill, NJ). Querns, a smooth-hitting third baseman, is a two-time All-League and All-Group 4 pick, while also earning Philadelphia Inquirer Second Team All-Star honors as a sophomore and junior. Querns is also a four-year varsity starter and has batted .448, .435 and .409, respectively, in his three years of action. He was voted the team MVP in ’01 and helped Cherry Hill West capture the ’02 conference championship. A veteran of the American Legion baseball, Querns hit .466 this past summer for Haddon Heights, which unseated Brooklawn for the league and district championships. Querns’ older brother, Chris, pitched at Lehigh and served as an assistant coach from 1998 through 2000.
“Tim is the first player from South Jersey that we have signed in a while,” said Hill. “I saw him play two years ago and we followed him again last summer at the Carpenter Cup. He has a really smooth stroke and is also strong defensively. He has hit well at every level and has the potential to be very successful at Rutgers.”
The final member of the class is Pascack Valley’s Ryan Hill (Pascack Valley, NJ). A Second-Team All-Bergen pick, Hill is a left-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder. A high school teammate of current Rutgers freshman Jim Jansen, Hill was a First-Team All-Bergen County pick last season and has earned First Team, All-League honors as both a sophomore and junior. Last season, Hill helped the team capture the NBIAL Division II Baseball Championship. Hill has also played with the River Vale Ravens American Legion baseball team, as well as the Bayside Yankees. With the Yankees, Hill was a member of the 2001 team that won the Connie Mack North Atlantic Regional Championship and traveled to Farmington, New Mexico to play in the Connie Mack World Series.
“Ryan is a good hitter with good power potential,” said Hill. “He has had a great career thus far at Pascack Valley under head coach Tom Gattoni, and showed his versatility last summer by playing multiple positions with the Bayside Yankees, a very successful AAU team. We have seen him play numerous times for both his high school and American Legion teams and he is a legitimate Division I player.”
"With so many newcomers on this year's team, we were looking to fill some key spots and we did just that with these four signings," added Hill. "With two pitchers and two hitters in the group, we have not only added depth, but four outstanding individuals from four very different regions of the state."
Rutgers posted a 35-22 mark last season, falling to Notre Dame, 3-2, in 10 innings in the title game of the BIG EAST Championship. The team returns six starters in 2002, including fifth-year senior Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ) and Freshman All-American Jeff Frazier (Toms River, NJ). The season starts on Friday, February 21, when RU travels to Norfolk, VA for a three-game series with Old Dominion University.