– With Opening Day nearing, three members of the Rutgers baseball team were named to the Big Ten Preseason Honors List on Wednesday. Junior outfielder Jawuan Harris
, junior catcher Nick Matera
and senior pitcher John O'Reilly
each represented as players to watch heading into the season.
The Scarlet Knights will open up Friday night at No. 9 Miami before taking part in a neutral-site tournament in Port Charlotte, Florida, the following weekend. Big Ten play starts March 23 versus Penn State at Bainton Field.
Harris was recently named by Baseball America
as the top 2018 draft prospect in the Big Ten, also being listed by the publication as the league's best athlete, fastest runner and best defensive outfielder. He led RU with eight home runs as a sophomore and slashed .269/.377/.468. The outfielder has stolen 60 bases in two seasons, which ranks sixth in program history and 25 short of the school record. A two-sport athlete, Harris played safety on the gridiron in the fall and picked up 41 tackles with three interceptions to tie for the team lead.
Matera earned Third Team All-Big Ten status in 2017 after leading Rutgers with .504 slugging percentage. He compiled a .293 batting average to rank second amongst Big Ten catchers, finishing with 11 doubles and five home runs. Behind the plate, the backstop placed second in the conference with nine runners caught stealing in league play.
O'Reilly is back as the leader of the pitching staff and is expected to take the ball in the season opener. The right-hander has 35 career starts with 214.1 innings of experience, including 76.2 frames of work as a junior to pace the team. The highlight of last season came in an eight-inning start to beat Purdue that saw the first 19 batters go down in order. He is also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
for the full Big Ten preseason release.
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