“Losing a senior of David’s ability, especially considering the youthfulness of our pitching staff, is very unfortunate,” said head coach Fred Hill. “On a personal level, David is a great kid and a good leader and we anticipated using him as one of our top starters.”
A small consolation, Santiago’s last appearance in a Scarlet Knight uniform was easily his best. Starting the third game of the BIG EAST Tournament, facing elimination after an opening-round loss to Notre Dame, Santiago worked 7.1 brilliant innings, holding the Hokies to just two runs in a 6-2 win which advanced Rutgers to the finals of the tournament. Santiago allowed eight hits and just one walk in the game, striking out four, to even his record at 2-2. The win afforded Rutgers a rematch with Notre Dame and, after a 4-3 RU win, the Irish captured the 2002 BIG EAST title with a 3-2, 10-inning victory in the winner-take-all contest.
Santiago pitched 129 innings in his career, allowing 137 hits and 52 earned runs (3.62 ERA). He finished with a 9-4 career record, including a 5-0 mark in 2001. As a freshman in 1999, Santiago appeared in a career-high 22 games, all in relief, and earned two saves while posting a 4.45 ERA..
Rutgers has now lost two senior hurlers – Santiago and Bobby Brownlie (Edison, NJ) – in the last week. Brownlie announced on Friday, January 24 that he will forego his senior season to pursue a professional career after being selected in the first round, 21st overall, by the Chicago Cubs last June.
The Scarlet Knights open their 2003 season on Friday, February 21, at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.