WRSU Sports

"Knight Writers"

Rutgers Dominates at FirstEnergy Park

By Cassandra Inacio

Lakewood- The Scarlet Knights took on the Fordham Rams on Tuesday night at FirstEnergy Park, home of the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Captain Brian O’Grady said that the team enjoyed playing at FirstEnergy Park and that it gave people who live further south than Rutgers a chance to see them play.

Rutgers bounced back from a tough loss against Houston on Sunday April 6th with a season high 17 hits.

Fordham scored one run in the first inning, but it was quickly answered by the Scarlet Knights with 3 runs.

After Mike Carter struck out, Nick Favatella crushed a double off the wall in right field and moved to third on a single by O’Grady. After O’Grady was caught stealing, Vinny Zarillo legged out an infield single to score Favatella.

An error by Fordham’s first baseman brings Joe D’Annunzio to 3rd and Vinny Zarillo home.

But the  Knights really came alive in the second inning.

Pat Sweeney, Rutgers shortstop, lead off by crushing a home run to left field for his first of the season and second of his career, he ended the night 4 for 4 with three runs and three RBIs.

Freshman Mike Carter and senior Nick Favatella hit back to back triples and O’Grady smoked a line drive to right to score Favatella.

Senior Pat Sweeney said, “I was just trying to be aggressive very early in the count. Fortunately, I got some good pitches to hit and was able to put some good swings on the ball.”

Freshman lefty Ryan Fleming earned his first career win in a strong outing, giving up 3 runs over a season-long six innings.

Fleming said, “I felt like I could throw my breaking ball in any count. I was just focusing on throwing strikes and I knew my defense would back me up. Our offense had a great day with 17 hits and 13 runs and picked me up many times.”

Rutgers Wins WNIT

By Matthew Salvatore

In a game that came down to the very last shot. A hero arose for the Scarlet Knights. Tyler Scaife drove the ball down the court slashing through defenders and put the ball through the hoop, sending UTEP fans home disappointed.

In a season where the Knights went an impressive 21-8 in non-tournament play, many find that Rutgers was 100% snubbed by the NCAA selection committee. With no birth in the NCAA tournament, hall of fame head coach, C. Vivian Stringer, decided to participate in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).

The Scarlet Knights made it through the first two rounds with relative ease, taking on Delaware, and Harvard. Then in the third round Rutgers took on their in-state rivals, the Seton Hall Pirates, in a double overtime thriller that created as one fan said “The best atmosphere I’ve seen in the RAC in years!” Stringer and company sliced through another two rounds leading them to a final show down against the UTEP Miners that had sold out in mere hours.

With UTEP seemingly off of their game, Rutgers had managed to jump to an 18 point advantage over the Miners with 18:41 left in the second half behind the scoring of Tyler Scaife and the great defensive effort of Rachel Hollivay. The Knights would fall cold however, and UTEP would not go down easily as they scratched and clawed their way back to a lead with just over 5 minutes left in the game. With the great play of the Knights’ Kahleah Copper, and the Miners’ Kristine Vitola, the two teams battled back and forth. Neither team could find an advantage over the other. After a long exchange between the two teams. The ball was placed in the hands of Tyler Scaife with just 8 seconds left and the rest is history.

With no players graduating from this Rutgers squad, the future is bright. A hall of fame head coach who has no plans on leaving, a rising sophomore guard in Tyler Scaife who was named to the All-WNIT team, rising junior guard in Kahleah Copper who was the WNIT MVP, great key players like Betnijah Laney, Rachel Hollivay, and Syessence Davis who all contribute consistently on defense, and great production off the bench are all weapons that Rutgers has moving forward. Look for these Scarlet Knights in next year’s NCAA tournament, and they will make a statement.

Lastly, a much deserved Congratulations to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights Women’s Basketball team on a great season and a WNIT trophy to add to the history.

Rutgers Baseball Drops Tough Battle to Houston

By Cassandra Inacio

Piscataway- There were clear skies Sunday at Bainton Field as Rutgers and Houston wrapped up their weekend series.

Rutgers took the first game of the series, beating No. 10 Houston 7-3 but The Cougars responded with a 9-1 win to even the series.

Kyle Driscoll started on the mound for the Knights and lasted 5 innings only allowing one hit and one run.

The Cougars scored first in the 4th inning. Kyle Driscoll walked shortstop Frankie Ratcliff, who was knocked in by DH Justin Montemayor.

Rutgers answered in the 7th inning. Designated Hitter, Joe D’Annunzio, hit a double and was then bunted over by freshman third baseman Christian Campbell. Right fielder, Tom Marcinczyk, hit a grounder to second base to score D’Annunzio.

“I was just looking to go the other way against the lefty and I got a pitch to do that” said D’Annunzio.

Frankie Ratcliff led off the 8th inning with a triple. Reliever, Kevin Baxter, then got an infield pop up and struck out Landon Appling for the second out. Justin Montemayor hit a swinging bunt off the end of the bat towards third to score Ratcliff.

“I was able to get ahead early with the fastball, and my curveball was working” Baxter said.  “Getting behind [Ratcliff] is what hurt me when I gave up the triple.”

D’Annunzio singled in the bottom of the 9th to lead the inning. After a failed sacrifice bunt attempt, Christian Campbell singled to left field to put the game-winning run on first base. Tom Marcinczyk laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance D’Annunzio and Campbell.

D’Annunzio said “I wanted to be aggressive to lead off the ninth inning. He threw me a slider over the plate and I was able to hit it up the middle.”

The Cougars intentionally walked Pat Sweeney to load the bases. Lou Clemente came into the game for Rutgers as pinch hitter, but struck out. The last at bat came down to freshman Mike Carter. After a three pitch battle he grounded out to second to end the game.

The Scarlet Knights will take on Fordham on April 8th at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood at 6:05.

Rutgers Knocks Off 10 Houston

By Cassandra Inacio

Piscataway- On a windy day at Bainton Field the teams spent most of their time battling the elements. Rutgers took on Houston as their conference home opener for the first time in program history.

Rutgers opened the game scoring in the first inning. Nick Favatella hit a one out double, and Brian O’Grady hit a sacrifice fly to move him to third. Vinny Zarrillo then hit a single to score Favatella, which gave the Knights an early lead.

Rutgers added another run in the third, but Houston answered in the fourth inning with two runs to tie the game. But the Knights were up to the challenge.

In the fourth inning Rutgers added two more runs. Rutgers catcher, R,J. Devish, hit an RBI single to score freshman Christian Campbell. Later that inning Nick Favatella hit a solo homerun.

Nick Favatella, who has started the last 169 games, was 2-4 on the day with one RBI and a homerun.

Favatella said, “With their pitching staff being pretty strong, I wanted to make sure I was aggressive early in the count. I got some good pitches to hit and put pretty good swings on them.”

That was Favatella’s second homer on the season, both coming in the last three games.

“I am feeling confident at the plate now and that is half the battle in hitting.” he said.

Howie Brey started on the mound for the first time since his win against Old Dominion. Brey went 5 innings allowing two runs on five hits and one walk, while striking out two.

Brey said, “My fast ball was working well in the beginning of the game, but towards the end of my start I lost command and threw my off speed pitches for strikes. I also got a lot of help from my fielders who made some great plays for me when I needed it.”

Brey’s ERA is at an impressive 1.69

Rutgers added three more runs in the sixth and Houston scored one in the eighth, ending the game at a 7-3 Rutgers Victory.

Football Spring Practice is Underway

By Danny Friedman

Kyle Flood and the football program gave a few hundred fans a preview of the 2014 team Saturday as they hosted an open practice inside the practice bubble.  Saturday’s practice also marked the first time the team put the pads on.  From an intriguing quarterback battle to changes to the coaching staff and on both sides of the ball, there was plenty for the fan to see in the third practice of the spring.

kyle floodWe will start with most intriguing story of the spring: the quarterback competition.  Gary Nova, Chris Laviano, Blake Rankin, Mike Bimonte and Devin Ray all saw reps in front of the crowd.  Through the first two spring practices, each quarterback had seen equal reps.  The equal reps continued on Saturday.  Before spring practice, Kyle Flood had made it known that he wanted to give the quarterbacks equal reps for the first few practices then start to sort out the competition and the reps accordingly.  However, it did feel like walk-on redshirt freshman Devin Ray saw less snaps than the other four quarterbacks.  It also looked like Gary Nova and Chris Laviano took a few more snaps with the first team offense than the likes of Blake Rankin and Mike Bimonte.

In terms of performance, no quarterback stood out.  The five quarterbacks each made a few nice throws and missed on a few.  I would say Nova had the best performance as he made a few more downfield throws and looked more comfortable than the other quarterbacks.  From the share of snaps on Saturday and Flood’s displeasure with quarterback performance during the first practice, it looks like the quarterback competition will be narrowed down in the spring and become a smaller competition in the summer.  I think the quarterback competition will ultimately become a battle between Gary Nova and Chris Laviano.

"The Fridge" is ready to bring a new-look offense to Rutgers, but who will be running the show?

“The Fridge” is ready to bring a new-look offense to Rutgers, but who will be running the show?

For the first time, Rutgers fans saw the former University of Maryland head coach donning the block R.  Ralph Friedgen, the highest-paid and highest-profile assistant coach in Rutgers history, will have an immense say in determining the winner of the quarterback battle and the team’s success in the Big Ten.  At least two thirds of the plays called in the various stages of the practice were handoffs out of the I-formation.  While the terminology and playbook is going to be different going from Ron Prince to Friedgen, the receivers ran crisp routes.

Despite having a new leader, the offensive personnel did not change very much.  The entire offensive line returns as Kaleb Johnson, Keith Lumpkin, Betim Bujari, Chris Muller, and Taj Alexander are working with new offensive line coach Mitch Browning.  Paul James is expected to have a big 2014 season for the Scarlet Knights, but he was not practicing on Saturday.  Instead, sophomore Justin Goodwin got the bulk of the carries as well as redshirt sophomore Des Peoples.  Both players looked shifty and explosive and will be a nice compliment to Paul James.  The offense did look different in that Brandon Coleman is no longer there.  After coming off an upper body injury that forced him to sit out at the end of the year, Leonte Carroo looked healthy and ready to fill the number one receiver role.  Ruhann Peele, Andre Patton, and Carlton Agudosi also looked sharp and saw a lot of reps as they are going to need to produce in 2014.  Tyler Kroft is expected to pick up where he left off last season, but he was out with an injury on Saturday.  Many Rutgers fans were happy to see Mike Teel coaching them as he enters his first year as graduate assistant.

While the Scarlet Knights return a lot on offense and some younger guys will see increased roles, the story is much of the same for defense.  Joe Rossi now is leading the defense after receiving the coordinator position this offseason.  The most notable defensive change comes in the position swap between Kevin Snyder and Steve Longa.  Longa, the team’s leading tackler last season, is now playing weak side linebacker.  Snyder will now take Longa’s position at middle linebacker as his bigger frame is expected to be better suited for the position.  Ian Thomas was back out there for the Scarlet Knights after leaving the team in October.  Thomas and Cioffi took many of the first teams reps, but this will also be a competition as Gareef Glashen was out with a lower body injury and Nadir Barnwell is also competing for time.  Jonathan Aiken and Delon Stephenson are competing to take over the free safety position vacated by Jeremy Deering.  One up and coming player that saw a lot of time and looks ready to contribute this year is redshirt freshman linebacker Myles Nash.  After putting on weight this off-season, it looks like Rossi expects him to make plays for the defense.  Redshirt freshman Andre Hunt also had a nice practice and made a few plays at the safety position.  With the core of the defense returning, the unit looks to make huge strides in 2014.

Stay with WRSU as Rutgers gears up for its first season in the Big Ten.  WRSU will have the play-by-play action of the spring game on April 26th.

 

 

WRSU Finalizes Rutgers Baseball Broadcast at FirstEnergy Park

On Wednesday, Rutgers Baseball announced they were moving one of their home games to FirstEnergy Park, home of the Lakewood BlueClaws.

WRSU announced today that it will be broadcasting Rutgers vs. Fordham live from Lakewood, N.J. on Tuesday, April 8 starting at 5:45 p.m. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m. Veteran broadcasters James Stumper and Chris Morales will be on the call. 

“It’s not a regular occurrence that we get to broadcast from professional facilities. The hands-on experience at a facility like FirstEnergy Park is a priceless opportunity. I’m very excited to get down there and take it all in,” says Morales, who also serves as the station’s General Manager.

FirstEnergy is a state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2001. It has a capacity of 8,000 – including 20 luxury suites, two party decks, three picnic areas, and a full video scoreboard, with a 23′ x 23′ video board that can play over 4.4 trillion shades of color in high definition.

The BlueClaws are a Class A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies in the South Atlantic League. 

Rutgers loses battle for No. 3 seed

By Ryan Moran

The Rutgers Women’s Basketball came into Monday night’s game tied with USF for third place in the Athletic American Conference (AAC) at a record of 12-5.

With the third seed in the AAC tournament on the line, Rutgers came up short in a 60-51 loss.

The game was not as close as the score may indicate. Rutgers was dominated in every facet of the game throughout the entirety of the game.

Coach C. Vivian Stringer said, “It hurts much more because it has big implications.”

One of those implications being that, if Rutgers were to win their first game, it would put them on a crash course against the #1 UConn Huskies, who just finished a perfect regular season.

Junior forward Betnijah Laney added, “It hurts us, because it’s not the easiest way”, referring to the AAC Tournament.

Rutgers looked terrible in the first half, trailing 34-21 at the half. They turned the ball over an astonishing 10 times compared to that of USF’s two turnovers. Because of these turnovers, USF was able to get more opportunities on the offensive side.

Although Rutgers outscored USF in the second half 30-26, they could not consistently stop USF down the stretch. As Junior guard Syessence Davis put it, “You can’t trade baskets. You have to maintain and get stops and we didn’t do that.”

Courtney Williams of USF was dominant as she shot 12 of 25 from the field for 26 points, while also pulling down 13 rebounds. 19 of those points coming in the second half.

Rutgers heads to Connecticut for the AAC tournament with a first round bye. They will face either Temple or SMU at noon this Saturday in the quarterfinals.

Game Notes

  • USF outrebounded Rutgers, 46-39.
  • Rutgers shot 18-54 from the floor. USF shot 25-69 from the floor.
  • Rutgers had 14 turnovers, while USF had 10 turnovers.
  • Rutgers got to the foul line more, but only converted 14 of a possible 21 shots.
  • Rachel Hollivay had an astounding 9 blocks, which is more than USF combined.

Rutgers Edges USF in Tight Battle

By Cassandra Inacio

In the American Athletic Conference, Rutgers and USF are both fighting for the sixth seed in the standings, which gets a first-round-bye in the tournament. It is a four-team race to gain this spot with Houston leading the way and than Rutgers and USF. It was a huge game for USF to try and beat the Knights and move up a slot in the race for the sixth seed.

Rutgers started off the game with high intensity and impressive athleticism but the game quickly tilted in favor of the Bulls. At halftime Rutgers was facing a 10-point deficit, 42-32. Although the Knights would eventually be down by 15 points in the second half, key players like J.J. Moore, Kadeem Jack, and Wally Judge kept Rutgers alive.

J.J. Moore, who arguably had his best game this season, finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, and two assists. With 9:30 left to play in the second half, Rutgers stole the ball and it ended up in the hands of Jerome Seagers, who lobbed it up to Moore for an alley-oop giving the Knights a 57-55 lead.

The last seconds really had the crowd engaged in the game and on the edge of their seats. With 45.8 seconds left Myles Mack missed a three-pointer but it was rebounded by Moore and he was fouled. Moore was 5-5 from the free throw line at this point and made both of his shots to make the score 72-71 Rutgers. USF misses and alley-oop attempt and Kone rebounds, but he is called out of bounds, giving the ball back to USF with 4.9 seconds left. The Bulls gave the ball to Victor Rudd, who had 26 points on the day, and he missed giving Rutgers the win 74-73.

“We had the game plan at that particular possession and the guys followed through” Coach Eddie Jordan stated.

Rutgers will finish the season playing UConn Wednesday March 5 away and Number 11 Cincinnati March 8 at the RAC.

 

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