NORFOLK, VA – Old Dominion sophomore Justin Verlander, considered one of the nation’s top pitchers, limited Rutgers to just four hits and one run over 8.2 innings as the Scarlet Knights fell, 5-1, in their 2003 season opener. Verlander, the 2002 CAA Rookie of the Year, took a shutout into the ninth before allowing an RBI single to Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ). With the loss, RU falls to 0-1, while ODU improves to 2-2." />
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Rutgers Baseball Falls in Season Opener, 5-1
  • Posted on February 21, 2003 12:00:00 AM
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  • NORFOLK, VA – Old Dominion sophomore Justin Verlander, considered one of the nation’s top pitchers, limited Rutgers to just four hits and one run over 8.2 innings as the Scarlet Knights fell, 5-1, in their 2003 season opener. Verlander, the 2002 CAA Rookie of the Year, took a shutout into the ninth before allowing an RBI single to Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ). With the loss, RU falls to 0-1, while ODU improves to 2-2.

    ODU scored single runs in the first and second innings and added two more in the fourth to take a 4-0 lead. In the first, the Monarchs used a hit batsman and a walk to put runners on first and second with one out, setting the table for Brandon Le Noir, who drove an RBI single to right. In the second inning, a leadoff single by Justin Gregula and a walk to Brent Schoendiest put runner runners on first and second again and, after a sacrifice, Gregula scored on an infield groundout. The third inning’s runs came across on a sacrifice fly by Steven Harris and a two-out, infield error.

    RU ruined Verlander’s shutout bid with a single run in the ninth, as Wolski singled through the left side, knocking in Badger, who walked to open the inning.

    “I thought we played well, considering this was this was the first time we stepped on a baseball field since the fall,” said head coach Fred Hill. “Verlander threw well today and it took us a while to get going, but we played them evenly over the last five or six innings, which was nice to see.”

    Rutgers mustered four hits in the game, led by Wolski, who was 2-for-4. Alberto Vasquez (Jersey City, NJ) and Nick Cerulo (Woodbridge, NJ) also singled. Leadoff hitter Graig Badger (Union, NJ) reached twice via walk. RU was also victimized by three ODU double plays.

    Jack Ebgert (Rutherford, NJ) (0-1) allowed five hits and four runs (three earned) in six solid innings, while senior Sean Atchison (Florham Park, NJ) allowed one run in the seventh and OJ Dechristofano (Pequannock, NJ) pitched a scoreless eighth.

    Today’s season opener marked the collegiate debut for freshmen Johnny Defendis (Staten Island, NY), Mike Bionde (Pompton Plains, NJ), Steve Hook (Langhorne, PA), Jeff Grose (Iselin, NJ) and DeChristofano. All five entered the game as replacements in the eighth and ninth innings. Today’s loss also ended a nine-game winning streak for Rutgers over the Monarchs.

    The two teams will return to action tomorrow with a single game at 1:00 p.m.

      Score by Innings                    R  H  E
      -------------------------------------------
      Rutgers............. 000 000 001 -  1  4  2
      ODU................. 112 000 10X -  5  7  0
      -------------------------------------------
      BOX SCORE
    
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