PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers University head baseball coach Fred Hill announced today that five scholastic stars have National Letters of Intent to attend Rutgers University and play baseball beginning in the fall of 2004. Four of the committments hail from New Jersey, while one is from Staten Island, NY.
“We have five real quality kids joining our program,” said Hill. “They are all well coached and have excellent ability. We are very pleased with where we are right now. We might add a pitcher in the spring to this class, but this is a great nucleus.”
The most prominent member of the class is Todd Frazier (Toms River, NJ). Frazier, who stars at Toms River South, is the third member of the Frazier clan to commit to Rutgers, joining older brothers Charles (1998) and Jeff (2001). Frazier is coming off a junior season in which he batted .457 last season with 12 home runs (breaking the single-season school record set by Jeff in 2001), seven doubles, 32 RBI and 47 runs scored. He also posted a .593 on-base percentage while committing just three errors at shortstop for a team that finished 24-5 and became the first Shore Conference team to win back-to-back state championships. He was also 4-1 with a 1.43 ERA. Frazier is a two-time Ocean County Player of the Year and a First Team All-State choice by the Associated Press and Star Ledger. Frazier first found fame as a member of the Toms River East American Little League team (the “Beasts of the East”) that won the 1998 World Championship. Frazier is considered one of the top high school players in the country.
“Todd is an exceptional baseball player with outstanding instincts,” said Hill. “He comes from an outstanding family and has been a winner at every level.”
Catcher Frank Meade (Linden, NJ) was an All-Union County pick and Third Team Group 4 selection as a junior in 2002. He batted .404 with four home runs, 27 walks and 16 RBI – posting an impressive .716 on-base percentage. In addition, Meade walked 24 times and was hit 17 others in 2002, helping him produce a .714 on-base percentage that was among the best in Union County. He was a key member of the Linden team that recorded a 16-9 record and earned its first berth in the Union County Tournament in 11 seasons. Meade is widely regarded as a fine defensive catcher with an outstanding throwing arm and strong blocking skills.
“Frank is a prototypical catcher in that he is very strong defensively and can also handle the bat,” said Hill. “He throws very well, can block well and is a good leader.”
RHP Tony Worgo (New Providence, NJ) was also an All-Union County selection as well as a First Team All-State (Group 1) selection as a junior in 2003. He posted a 6-2 record with a 1.94 ERA, striking out 84 hitters in just 53 innings of work. When not taking his regular turn as the team’s top pitcher, Worgo played outfield and some first base, hitting .489 with seven doubles, three triples and 19 RBI. His 46 hits in 2003 set a school single-season record. He is a three-year varsity letterwinner and has been the team’s No. 1 starter since his freshman year in 2001. As a freshman, Worgo posted a 6-3 record and improved to 7-2 (1.58 ERA) as a sophomore in ’02, while also hitting .416.
“Tony is a hard thrower who can also play several different positions,” said Hill. “I have seen him play several different places in the field and he looks comfortable everywhere.”
Infielder Tom Edwards (Caldwell, NJ) is a four-year starter at Caldwell High for his father, Jeff, who serves as head coach. A three-sport standout (football, basketball, baseball), Edwards batted .396 as a freshman and .380 as a sophomore, while leading the team in RBI. That season, he was a second team all-conference pick at shortstop behind current RU shortstop Mike Bionde (Pequannock, NJ). Last season, Edwards batted .415 with a team-best 25 RBI and was named first team all-county and all-conference, while also earning All-Group 2 (third team) accolades.
“Tom is well-coached and very strong defensively,” said Hill. “He is a very good athlete and a very skilled baseball player.”
Outfielder Sal Baio (Staten Island, NY) rounds out the class. Baio batted .365 with six home runs and 22 RBI last spring for St. Joseph’s-by-the-Sea and then proceed to bat .405 with three home runs and 37 RBI for the Bergen Beach Athletics during the summer. As a member of the Bergen Beach squad, Baio played a 72-game summer schedule and traveled to 11 states with impressive success. His team played in the 16-year-old Colt League World Series (Lafayette, IN) and won titles at Disney’s AAU Championships in Orlando and Rockland (NY) Community College’s Summer Showcase. His team won the New York City Federation Championship and finished second at the Beast of the East tournament in Wheeling, WV.
“Sal has had a lot of success and can really hit the ball,” said Hill. “We really like his size and ability. We think he can be a very good college hitter.”
The Scarlet Knights finished 37-22 in 2003, won the BIG EAST Regular Season Champioship and advanced to the finals of the BIG EAST Tournament before falling in the title game. The Scarlet Knights were awarded their fifth NCAA berth in the last six years, participating in the NCAA Regional at Tallahassee, FL, where they defeated Jacksonville, 8-5, before falling to top-ranked Florida State in the third round. The 2004 team returns six everyday starters and all but one member of its pitching staff, including All-BIG EAST picks Jeff Frazier (Toms River, NJ) and Jack Egbert (Rutherford, NJ).