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Joe Litterio Season Review
Scarlet Knights won 30 games in 2014
  • Posted on June 12, 2014 3:24:59 PM
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  • PISCATAWAY, N.J. (June 12, 2014) – After leading the Rutgers baseball program to 30 wins in his first season as head coach, Joe Litterio reflected on the 2014 season that saw the Scarlet Knights finish tied for third in the conference standings.

    On accomplishments from the season: “I think what these seniors did was a great accomplishment this year in winning 30 games. Those guys were the ones that I’m sure knew that we’re playing for the future – we’re getting the young guys at bats and getting them in the games. But that didn’t deter them from doing what they wanted to do, and they all wanted to win. They put the team on their shoulders, those guys, and led us to a 30-win season. I was very happy to see that.”

    Thoughts on transition to head coach: “I think the transition was smooth, and that’s one of the reasons why I came in when I did (as an assistant in 2012). That move over, to take over—it’s not a new guy coming in and everything is new – it’s the same thing that coach Hill has done for the last 30 years. It was an easy transition to where we just kept going, and I think that helped the confidence of the kids to get us to where we got.”

    Thoughts on team’s style of play: “I think we were aggressive. I think that’s the one thing that I wanted to instill from all the fundamentals that coach Hill taught us and everything else, we did that the same. I just add a little bit more aggressiveness to us, and I think we showed that on the base paths and at the plate.”

    On pressure following Fred Hill: “Yeah, I think the first couple weeks there was pressure. And then the Moose retirement game, there was a lot of pressure then too. Any time you follow a legend, there’s going to be pressure. You’re going to have a lot of weight on your shoulders too; first of all to make him proud and to see his program go in the direction he wants, but to do what we’ve been doing all along and keep that going.”

    Thoughts on team chemistry: “I think the team chemistry was great. I think that’s one of the reasons why we got the 30 wins. There was no grumbling within the team. Everybody knew what we were trying to do, and that’s another compliment to the seniors. It was great how they were able to gel all these young kids and accept the fact that they were playing over some older guys. The team chemistry was great, and I think that’s a part of a winning program. You have to have that chemistry in the locker room.”

    Thoughts on development of freshmen: “I think if you look at them early on, they went through a lot of tough times, especially picking up the speed of the game. They got to learn that early on. And if you look at our record from the second half of the season, you can see those freshmen started to put the numbers up and started to play like we were hoping they would be able to. It just took some time to be able to do that.”

    Thoughts on the seniors: “I think they accomplished what they wanted to accomplish—they wanted to win. For them to be able to get to the tournament in three of their four years; to be able to get to 30 wins in their final year says a lot. Especially coming off a year when you graduate a group of 12 guys, that’s a big loss in the locker room. It’s a big loss of leadership. Those guys were able to put it on their shoulders and do it themselves and they did a great job with it.”

    Thoughts on the results of the team: “I think the pitching and defense always gets you where you want to get to. I think you need to have pitching. Once those guys and once the coaching staff figured out the rotation, figured out the roles for the kids, they started to gel into their roles. We swung the bats, and we had to do it some games, but a lot of the times late in the year, the pitchers were the ones that helped us win those games.”

    Thoughts on development of the pitchers: “If you look at our box scores from the first weekend to the last few, names were in there that hadn’t pitched a lot. It was a process for us to find out who was going to be able to pitch at this level. Also, it was important getting the experience early for these guys since it’s a little different than high school. They had to learn that. Whenever you lose that many pitchers from the year before, it’s tough, but I think to be able to get 30 wins with a young staff like we did showed how they progressed.”

    On success at home: “I think it was just the fact that we talked about it. We talked about our home field as our place – I made it a point this year to really bring it up, to stress it. We play all these midweek games and they’re our home games. We had to pay attention to midweek games just because of RPIs and everything else, at-large bids, and most of our midweeks were home. No one comes in without getting a fight. We played great here all year, and it was good to see. When you’re home, you have to win those games, and it’s tough to play on the road with some of those teams, and we held our end of the bargain. We were 19-4, which was great.”

    On excitement about the Big Ten move: “We’re very excited. I think going into this conference is now putting us above all the local schools – all the schools that we’ve been recruiting against for the last 10, 20 years. We’re getting into an elite conference and I think as far as recruiting is concerned, you’ll see that pay dividends down the road. As far as the baseball part of it, I think we’ll be able to compete right away. I think we’re going into a strong conference—a league that has been putting multiple teams in the NCAA Regionals. So, we’re getting into a different league, and I believe we’re going to be able to walk in and compete. I think it’s going to be some time before we build to be one of the top elite, but we’re on the right path.”

    Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding baseball, follow the program on Twitter @baseballRU and Tumblr.

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