PISCATAWAY, NJ - Senior second baseman Graig Badger (Union, NJ) has earned the first BIG EAST Player of the Week award of the season, as announced today. Badger hit .643 (9-for-15) in a three-game series at William & Mary, reaching base in 10-consecutive plate appearances at one point during the weekend.
Badger made outs in his first two at bats in Friday’s season opener, but unleashed a double and a three-run home run in his next two at bats, finishing the day 2-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored in an 18-12 win. He then went 5-for-5 with a double and three RBI in Saturday’s 11-4 loss, his first career five-hit game. On Sunday, Badger was 2-for-4 with a pair of walks, scoring two runs and driving in another.
From the time he was hit a by pitch in the ninth inning on Friday, through his fifth-inning double on Sunday, Badger reached base 10-straight times, en route to a .706 on-base percentage. He also slugged 1.071 and drove in a team-high six runs.
Notre Dame’s Tom Thornton, who allowed just one unearned run in 6.0 innings to earn the win vs. No. 20 Southern Cal, was named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week, along with Pittsburgh’s Nick Evangelista, who gave up just three hits in 7.0 shutout innings at New Orleans.
The Scarlet Knights (1-2) return to action on Friday, Feb. 27, when they travel to Norfolk, VA for a three-game series with Old Dominion University (3-3).
Other highlights from the weekend:
· Rutgers set the school record for most runs scored in a season opener with an 18-12 win on February 20. The Scarlet Knights banged out 18 hits in the game, led by Rich Canuso, who had a double, single and home run with five RBI in his first game since tearing his ACL at Georgia Tech on March 8 of last season. All nine starters had at least one hit in the game, including Jeff Frazier, who homered in his first at bat and finished the day 3-for-3, reaching base in all six plate appearances. Freshman Steve Healing, making his first collegiate appearance, picked up the win in relief with 3.1 innings of one-run relief.
· Rutgers hit .375 in the series, including .381 with runners in scoring position.
· By the fourth inning of Saturday’s game, RU was without three starters from last season – Bionde (shoulder), Johnny Defendis (back) and Nick Cerulo (thumb). All three are expected to return this season, although their return is unknown.