MOUNTAINSIDE, N.J. (Feb. 18, 2014) – Former standout Rutgers pitcher Rob Smorol was recently named the 2013 Union County Male Athlete of the Year, earning the Chris Zusi Award in a banquet this month at the 78th Annual Hot Stove League Baseball Dinner. The dinner was sponsored by the Union County Baseball Association, in cooperation with the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal.
One of the most accomplished left-handed pitchers in school history, Smorol defeated every team in the BIG EAST (plus West Virginia) during his career. He finished second in the record books in innings (313.0) and starts (44), tied for third in wins (22), third in strikeouts (206) and single season starts (15 in both 2012 and 2013) and eighth in games (72). A durable starter, he holds the RU record for most consecutive weekend starts (44) after not missing an assignment in three years as a rotation hurler.
Smorol led the Scarlet Knights with a 3.63 ERA and .262 opponent’s batting average as a senior in 2013. He surrendered three earned runs or less in nine starts as the Friday ace.
Following the season, Smorol signed with the Boston Red Sox organization and pitched for the Gulf Coast Red Sox. He recorded a 3.78 ERA in 13 games in his first professional season, earning a call-up to Greenville of the South Atlantic League at the end of the year. He is currently in spring training preparing for the 2014 season.
Smorol joins a long list of Rutgers student-athletes to earn the Chris Zusi Award, including William Austin (1957, football), Jeff Torborg (1963, baseball), Ted Blackwell (1976, football), Brian Ciemniecki (2001, baseball), Nathan Jones (2002, football), Manny Collins (2006, football), Frank Meade (2007, baseball) and Khaseem Greene (2012, football).
Since 1937, the Hot Stove League Dinner has been the primary fund-raising effort for the Union County Baseball Association’s summer and fall programs. Over the years, the awards dinner has honored many local and national baseball luminaries – including Phil Rizzuto of Hillside, Don Newcombe of Elizabeth, Joe Collins of Union, Jeff Torborg of Mountainside, Willie Wilson of Summit, and Elliott Maddox of Union.