PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 25, 2013) – After winning its two midweek games, Rutgers baseball will take the weekend off from BIG EAST play and compete against No. 24 Oklahoma State, Creighton and Nebraska in the TD Ameritrade Classic at the site of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. It will be the first time head coach Fred Hill and the Scarlet Knights compete in the state of Nebraska since playing in the Lincoln NCAA Regional in 2001, as the program advanced to College World Series in Omaha in 1950.
Game 40: Friday, April 26
First Pitch: 3:35 p.m. EST
Rutgers Starter: LHP Rob Smorol (4-3, 3.00)
Oklahoma State Starter: RHP Jason Hursh (4-3, 2.62)
Live Stats: GameTracker
Game 42: Sunday, April 28
First Pitch: 2:05 p.m. EST
Rutgers Starter: RHP Charlie Law (3-4, 5.19)
Nebraska Starter: LHP Kyle Kubat (2-0, 1.80)
Live Stats: NeuLion
Rutgers has not played a neutral site regular season games since taking on Monmouth in Greenville, N.C., March 13, 2011 … the Scarlet Knights are tied for fifth in the BIG EAST standings (8-7), with the top eight qualifying for the BIG EAST Championships in Clearwater, Fla. … the team has played 12 games against ranked opponents this season (2-10) … Ron and Pat Bainton reside in Nebraska … the family graduated from Rutgers in 1962 and donated $1.25 million towards a turf baseball field at RU in 2006 … it was the largest gift to RU athletics at the time … the surface was installed for the 2007 season and the Scarlet Knights are 84-50-1 (.626) … the Scarlet Knights have been rained out the past two Fridays … the team has played five doubleheaders this season due to poor weather … the offense has collected an extra base hit in each of the past 12 games … hitters have been patient to earn at least one walk in all 39 games, drawing 68 over the last 11 contests … the base runners only stole 12 bags in the first 20 games, but have since swiped 25 over the last 19 … RU has racked up double-digit hits 19 times … Rutgers is second in the BIG EAST with 19 home runs and has issued the second-least amount of walks (19) … catchers have totaled the least amount of passed balls (4) in the conference … 29 of the 34 players on the roster are from New Jersey … this will be the first weekend the pitcher staff uses a different rotation … Rutgers had 23 road games to start the season, most in the nation … 13-16 away from home overall.
Head coach Fred Hill has 1,081 career victories (13th-most amongst active coaches) in his 37th season at the collegiate level and 933 wins at Rutgers (30th season) … has notched 20 wins in each of his last 29 years at RU … all four coaches on staff played for Hill at Rutgers.
Sophomore Vinny Zarrillo (Forked River, N.J.) is third hitting .386 in BIG EAST games, while being sixth with a .353 batting average for the season … has a hit in 24 of the last 29 games … one of three players to start every game so far.
Senior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) has a team-best on base percentage of .445 (sixth in the league) … leads roster with 153 games played … all five career home runs have been on the road … hitting .520 (13-for-25) over his last six games.
Senior Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) leads RU with 32 RBIs at the plate and 55 strikeouts on the mound … his 15 RBIs in league games are fifth-most … has an RBI in 14 of the last 17 games (21 in the stretch) … has also been the designated hitter in his last five starts on the mound … he is one of 20 players nationally at the Division I level who are weekend starters as well as regular hitters.
Senior Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) will make his first start of the season Saturday after making 16 appearances out of the bullpen … he has six saves … the left-hander was the Sunday starter for the first six weeks in 2012 before suffering an injury (3-2, 4.59) … his best start was a complete game shutout at No. 14 Stetson … has worked to a 2.64 ERA over his last 17 innings this year, recording 14 strikeouts in that stretch … has never committed an error in 45 career appearances for RU … pitched at Duquesne as a freshman before the program was eliminated.
Senior Jeff Melillo (Annandale, N.J.) has picked off four runners at first base this year from behind the plate … has caught a conference-best 13 runners stealing … started 36 games at catcher with no errors in the last 23 … recorded a hit in six of the last seven games.
Junior Nick Favatella (Washington Township, N.J.) has started the last 126 games dating back to his freshman season, 16th best streak in the nation … leads team with 163 career hits, 105 runs and nine home runs … riding an 11-game hitting streak, batting .386 (17-for-44) during it … has a hit in 18 of the last 19 games.
Senior Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) is scheduled to make his 40th career start, which would tie Matt Giannini (2006-10) for second-most in school history … has the second-most innings pitched in program history (286.2) and needs 30.1 to tie Casey Gaynor (2007-10) for the first spot … his 21 wins are tied for fourth-most in the RU record books … 187 strikeouts are third-most in school history … pitched to a 2.45 ERA over the last seven starts.
Freshman Matt Tietz (West Milford, N.J.) entered the lineup March 9 and has started the past 29 games as the leadoff hitter and third baseman … leads the team with 12 doubles … batting .300 as a starter.
Freshman Howie Brey (Middletown, N.J.) is tied with Corsi for the most pitching appearances this year … went a career-long 4.2 innings to earn the win in the most recent game against Wagner.
Junior Ross Costello (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.) has notched an RBI in three of the last four games … hit his third career home run Tuesday at Delaware.
Senior Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) has pitched the third-most innings in school history (286.1), one-third of a frame behind Smorol … has sixth-most strikeout in RU history (154) … was an All-American as a closer in 2010 with 12 saves … scheduled to be back in the weekend rotation for the Connecticut series.
Senior Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) went 3-for-6 with a walk in the Pittsburgh series.
Redshirt freshman John Jennings (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) has not made an error in seven starts at shortstop.
Junior Charlie Lasky (Freehold, N.J.) is a perfect 5-0 in 34 career relief appearances.
Junior Brian O’Grady (Warminster, Pa.) had a team-best 14-game hitting streak earlier this season … one of three players to start all 39 games.
Senior Nathaniel Roe (Plainfield, N.J.) struck out the nation’s leading hitter with the tying runs on base to end and save the game Tuesday at Delaware … returning this year after missing 2012 due to Tommy John surgery … has 50 career appearances for the Scarlet Knights.
Junior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) has successfully completed 52 of his last 53 chances at shortstop over 15 games.
Sophomore Jon Young (Old Bridge, N.J.) worked 6.2 to earn a win at Delaware, the fifth-best hitting team by average entering the day.
SCOUTING OKLAHOMA STATE
The Cowboys (28-11, 7-7 Big XII) are ranked are high as No. 24 in the national polls and come in having won four of the five games. Currently fifth in the Big XII standings, the team is led offensively by a .346 batting average from Tanner Krietemeier and six home runs by Zach Fish. Jason Hursh will make the start on mound against the Scarlet Knights, sporting a 2.62 and picking up a win over Kansas State last time out. Josh Holliday is in his first season as head coach after being a four-year letterwinner for the Cowboys.
Rutgers lost its only ever meeting against Oklahoma State, 9-4, at the 1991 Central Regional in Austin, Texas. The common opponent for both teams this season is Iona, with RU winning a midweek game and OSU taking a three-game series in Stillwater.
The Bluejays (22-9, 8-4 Missouri Valley) have won their last four games and are in third place in the Missouri Valley Conference. Kevin Lamb is batting .385 to pace the bats, with Mike Gerber recording four home runs and 28 RBIs to provide production from the middle of the order. The pitching staff has worked to a 3.77 team ERA. Ed Servais is in his 10th season as the head coach, as the Jays play their home games at TD Ameritrade Park.
Rutgers and Creighton met in 1986 with the Jays winning, 14-1, in a neutral site game at the University of Miami. The teams have no common opponents in 2013.
The Huskers (19-20, 11-4 Big Ten) are second in the Big Ten standings coming into the weekend and have played 13 games against ranked opponents. At the plate, Chad Christensen is hitting .386 and Kash Kalkowski has knocked in 30 runs. Kyle Kubat will make his third start of the season against the Scarlet Knights, having given up just two earned runs in 10 prior innings. Two-time Major League All-Star Darin Erstad is in his second season at the helm of the program.
The Huskers defeated RU twice at the 2003 Lincoln Regional in the two prior meetings. The teams have no common opponents in 2013.
TD AMERITRADE CLASSIC SCHEDULE (TIMES CST)
Friday, April 26
2:35 p.m. – Rutgers vs. Oklahoma State
6:35 p.m. – Nebraska vs. Creighton
Saturday, April 27
11:05 a.m. – Oklahoma State vs. Nebraska
3:05 p.m. –Oklahoma State vs. Nebraska
7:05 p.m. – Rutgers vs. Creighton
Sunday, April 28
1:05 p.m. – Rutgers vs. Nebraska
5:05 p.m. – Oklahoma State vs. Creighton
Rutgers will continue its non-conference stretch at Hofsta April 30 before returning home to face Delaware again the following day. The next BIG EAST series will begin May 4 at Bainton Field versus Connecticut.