NASHVILLE, TN – Faced with the pressure of making his first collegiate start while also seeking to end Rutgers’ four-game, season-opening losing streak, sophomore Tom Malafronte (Somerville, NJ) passed the test with flying colors, allowing just one run over seven innings to lead Rutgers past Lipscomb, 6-1, today in Nashville. The RU offense added three home runs to build a 4-0 lead after three innings, highlighted by a two-run blast from Vinny Esposito (Middletown, NJ) in the first inning. With the win, RU returns home at 1-4." />
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Malafronte Leads Rutgers Past Lipscomb, 6-1
RU OFFENSE HAMMERS THREE HOME RUNS TO BACK EFFORT
  • Posted on March 02, 2003 12:00:00 AM
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  • NASHVILLE, TN – Faced with the pressure of making his first collegiate start while also seeking to end Rutgers’ four-game, season-opening losing streak, sophomore Tom Malafronte (Somerville, NJ) passed the test with flying colors, allowing just one run over seven innings to lead Rutgers past Lipscomb, 6-1, today in Nashville. The RU offense added three home runs to build a 4-0 lead after three innings, highlighted by a two-run blast from Vinny Esposito (Middletown, NJ) in the first inning. With the win, RU returns home at 1-4.

    RU built a 2-0 lead in the first inning, as Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ) reached on a one-out single and, after a fielder’s choice, Esposito hammered a two-run home run to right field. In third, the Scarlet Knights tacked on another, as Lee Moskowitz (Edison, NJ) homered off the flag pole in left-center, while Rich Canuso (Monroe, NJ) homered to left field in the third, extending the lead to 4-0.

    Lipscomb’s offense came alive in the fifth, using a walk and a pair of singles to load the bases with two outs against Malafronte and its third hitter, Brian Passons, at the plate. Malafronte induced a weak popup to shallow left, which was hauled in by shortstop Mike Bionde (Pompton Plains, NJ).

    In the top of the sixth, RU added to its cushion, as the bottom of the order pushed across two more runs. Johnny DeFendis (Staten Island, NY) led off with a line-drive double to the wall in right and moved to third on a well-executed groundout to second by Nick Cerulo (Woodbridge, NJ). Lee Moskowitz (Edison, NJ) then doubled to right-center, scoring Defendis, while Bionde stroked a single to right, plating Moskowitz.

    The Bisons put runners and second and third with two outs in the sixth, but failed to score, as Malafronte escaped trouble with a groundout to short. In the seventh, however, Lipscomb broke the shutout when Chris Parker drilled a solo home run to left, cutting the lead to 6-1.

    “After two tough losses, this was a win we not only needed, but I felt the kids deserved,” said head coach Fred Hill. “Tommy Malafronte did a great job for us and it was nice to see our offense give us an early lead.”

    Malafronte (1-0) pitched seven strong innings, allowing seven hits and one run, walking four and striking out three. Freshman Bobby Acampora (Ocean Twp., NJ) pitched a scoreless eighth, allowing a pair of singles, before giving way to Sean Atchison (Florham Park, NJ), who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

    The Scarlet Knights had 12 hits, including two each from Esposito, Canuso, Defendis and Moskowitz. Esposito and Moskowitz each had two RBI as well.

    Rutgers is idle until Friday, March 7, when it travels to Atlanta, GA to face third-ranked Georgia Tech in a three-game series. BOX SCORE

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