PISCATAWAY, NJ - The Rutgers University baseball team held its annual end-of-season gathering on Sunday, October 4 at the Class of '53 Baseball Complex, officially closing a highly-successful 2003 campaign. After winning the BIG EAST Regular Season Championship with a 19-6 mark, the Scarlet Knights advanced to the tournament finals and earned their fifth NCAA Tournament berth in the last six seasons.
Rutgers head coach Fred Hill handed out two major awards. Second baseman Graig Badger (Union, NJ) earned the Ron Kish Academic Award, awarded annually to the player with the highest GPA on the team. Badger posted a 3.7 GPA in finance last spring and is on pace to graduate in May. Also a standout on the field, Badger hit .318 for the Scarlet Knights from the leadoff spot, posted a .470 on-base percentage and set single-season records for walks (56) and stolen bases (41). He also excelled defensively, making just seven errors at second base, and was named to the NCAA All-Regional Team at Florida State.
Senior pitcher Sean Atchison (Florham Park, NJ) earned Most Valuable Players, the first pitcher to receive the award since 1990, when Jim Kohl led RU to within one game of the College World Series. Atchison emerged as the team's bullpen ace, posting a 7-1 record with three saves and a 1.99 ERA. Atchison appeared in 29 games, all in relief, and allowed just 35 hits in 49.0 innings, while striking out 62. He was especially effective in the post-season, picking up Rutgers' final three victories of the season with wins over West Virginia, Notre Dame and Jacksonville.
Rutgers also honored its four other seniors - Steve Normane (Livingston, NJ), Alberto Vasquez (Jersey City, NJ), Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ) and Leon Shade (Montclair, NJ) - one final time.