PISCATAWAY, NJ – Freshman Chris Lillis (Fair Haven, NJ) picked up two saves with superb relief pitching and senior Steve Normane (Pt. Pleasant, NJ) was 4-for-6 with four RBI, including a tie-breaking RBI triple in the opener, to lead Rutgers to a doubleheader sweep of St. John’s in BIG EAST baseball action this afternoon." />
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Rutgers Sweeps St. John’s in BIG EAST Baseball Action
Lillis Saves Both Ends of the Doubleheader as Scarlet Knights Leapfrog Red Storm in Conference Standings
  • Posted on April 17, 2003 12:00:00 AM
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  • PISCATAWAY, NJ – Freshman Chris Lillis (Fair Haven, NJ) picked up two saves with superb relief pitching and senior Steve Normane (Pt. Pleasant, NJ) was 4-for-6 with four RBI, including a tie-breaking RBI triple in the opener, to lead Rutgers to a doubleheader sweep of St. John’s in BIG EAST baseball action this afternoon. Lillis recorded the final two outs in a 7-6, game one victory (stranding two runners) and pitched 1.2 innings of shutout relief, including a 1-2-3 ninth inning, to preserve a 9-7 win in the nightcap. With the sweep, Rutgers moves to .500 for the first time this season at 14-14 and improves to 8-3 in BIG EAST play, while SJU falls to 18-17, 7-5.

    St. John’s, which entered the day holding a half-game lead over Rutgers in the conference standings, was facing the team which eliminated it from the 2002 BIG EAST Tournament on the final day of last year’s regular season. The Red Storm sent junior Joe Reid to the mound in the opener, while Rutgers countered with freshman Matt Pustay (Hamilton, NJ), making his first collegiate start. Pustay worked a scoreless first inning and Rutgers plated two in the bottom of the inning to provide the young southpaw an early lead.

    With two outs and a runner already thrown out at home plate, Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ) singled up the middle with Jeff Frazier (Toms River, NJ) on second following his single through the box. Frazier rounded third and just barely escaped the tag of SJU catcher Blake Herschelman for the game’s first run. Normane then followed with a single off the third baseman’s glove, which scored Vinny Esposito (Middletown, NJ).

    SJU reclaimed a run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Ray Downs, but Rutgers manufactured four runs in the third to take a commanding 6-1 lead. It sent nine hitters to the plate in the inning, the key hits being a leadoff single by Esposito, a two-run single from Alberto Vasquez (Jersey City, NJ) and a sacrifice fly by Graig Badger (Union, NJ). St. John’s also contributed three errors and two wild pitches to the cause.

    Pustay cruised in the third and fourth innings, but in the fifth, the Red Storm came storming back. An infield error opened the gate, while Bill Graiser reached on a bunt to put two runners on with no outs. A failed pickoff attempt, a sacrifice fly and another infield error produced two runs, closing the gap to 6-3, while a two-run single by Mike Rozema cut the deficit to one, 6-5.

    In the sixth, RU reliever Sean Atchison (Florham Park, NJ) loaded the bases with one out and worked the count full against leadoff hitter Derek Sullivan. Forced to throw a strike with the bases occupied, Sullivan executed a text book suicide squeeze, plating Downs to tie the game at 6-6.

    In the bottom of the sixth, Wolski was hit by a pitch with one out and was promptly replaced at first base by Lee Moskowitz (Edison, NJ). Before Moskowitz could even get acclimated to the game, he was racing around the bases on Normane’s triple to right field, which gave Rutgers a slim, 7-6 lead. Atchison (3-1) started the seventh, but ran into one-out trouble after another infield error and single. Lillis, however, induced a fly ball to left and a groundout to first to save the game.

    Atchison earned his third win, allowing one run on four hits in 2.0 innings of work. Pustay, who did not pitch enough innings to factor in the decision, allowed four hits and five runs in 4.1 innings. Normane, at 2-for-3, was the lone repeat hitter, although Badger reached base in two out of three plate appearances and added a sacrifice fly.

    In the second game, SJU jumped out to a 2-0 lead on RU starter Tom Malafronte (Somerville, NJ), but Rutgers battled back with a six-run fourth inning, one more in the fifth and two more in the sixth to take a 9-3 lead. In the decisive fourth, Wolski opened with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice by Normane and scored on a single by Jamell Rosario (Vineland, NJ), who was making his first start of the season in center field. A walk to Vasquez and a single to right by Mike Bionde (Pompton Plains, NJ) loaded the bases for the top of the order – Badger, Jeff Grose (Iselin, NJ) and Frazier. With three swift swings of the bat, Rutgers scored five more runs as Badger doubled home two, Grose tripled in two more and Frazier doubled home Grose.

    The Red Storm could have scored more had it not ended the second, third and fifth innings with putouts at the plate. In the second, Sullivan drove a fly ball to left with Downs on third. Grose circled the ball and fired a perfect one-hop strike to the plate, allowing Vasquez to apply the tag for the final out. An inning later, Herschelman singled to right, but Frazier came up throwing and nailed Eddie Schulz trying to score from second. In the fifth inning, with Rozema on second, Malafronte uncorked a wild pitch that skipped along the backstop. After advancing to third, Rozema and SJU head coach Ed Blankmeyer, who was coaching third base, grew a bit greedy and Rozema raced for home, only to be tagged out by Malafronte on a nice feed from Vasquez.

    A wild pitch pushed across the Rutgers run in the fifth, while a two-run double from Normane in the sixth brought home Frazier (double) and Esposito (walk).

    The Red Storm scored just three runs against Malfronte through six innings, but touched freshman Bobby Acampora (Ocean Twp., NJ) for a single run in the seventh and three more in the eighth, the big blow being a two-run double by Brett Hardie, which Lillis yielded as he entered the game. Following the double, Lillis retired the next six hitters in succession to close out the game and give Rutgers a much-needed victory.

    Malafronte (2-1) allowed 10 hits and three runs (two earned) in 6.0 innings. He walked three and struck out two. Lillis pitched 1.2 shutout innings, allowing one hit with one strikeout. Frazier was 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles, while Grose was 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI to accompany the offensive effort of Normane, who is now hitting .486 with 15 RBI in 11 BIG EAST games.

    Rutgers is off on Friday, but returns to action with a key doubleheader vs. Boston College at 12:00 noon, the seventh and eighth-straight home games for the Scarlet Knights.

                                  ** 2003 RUTGERS BASEBALL **
                                     St. John's at Rutgers
                      Apr 17, 2003 at Piscataway, NJ (Class of 53 Complex)
    
      St. John's 6 (18-16,7-4 BIG EAST)             Rutgers 7 (13-14,7-4 BIG EAST)
    
      Player                      AB  R  H BI       Player                      AB  R  H BI
      ---------------------------------------       ---------------------------------------
      D. Sullivan 2b/3b..........  3  1  0  1       BADGER, Graig 2b...........  1  0  0  1
      A. DeRosa lf...............  4  1  1  0       GROSE, Jeff lf.............  3  0  0  0
      M. Rozema ss...............  4  0  1  2       FRAZIER, Jeff rf...........  4  1  1  0
      E. Schultz 1b..............  4  0  1  0       ESPOSITO, Vinny 3b.........  3  2  1  0
       S. Mimms 1b...............  0  0  0  0       WOLSKI, Matt dh............  2  1  1  1
      J. Martin 3b...............  1  1  0  0        MOSKOWITZ, Lee pr.........  0  1  0  0
       B. Hardie 3b/2b...........  2  0  1  0       NORMANE, Steve 1b..........  3  1  2  2
      B.Hershelman dh............  4  0  1  0       DEFENDIS, Johnny cf........  4  0  0  0
      R. Downs rf................  2  2  1  1       VASQUEZ, Alberto c.........  3  1  1  2
       D. Jackson rf.............  1  0  0  0       BIONDE, Mike ss............  1  0  0  0
      B. Graiser cf..............  3  1  2  0       PUSTAY, Matt p.............  0  0  0  0
      M. Wagner c................  1  0  0  0        ATCHISON, Sean p..........  0  0  0  0
      J. Reid p..................  0  0  0  0        LILLIS, Chris p...........  0  0  0  0
       G. Holmes p...............  0  0  0  0
       M.Tamulionis p............  0  0  0  0
      Totals..................... 29  6  8  4       Totals..................... 24  7  6  6
    
      Score by Innings                  R  H  E
      -----------------------------------------
      St. John's.......... 010 041 0 -  6  8  3
      Rutgers............. 204 001 X -  7  6  4
      -----------------------------------------
    
      E - J. Martin(5); B. Graiser(2); J. Reid(1); ESPOSITO 2(5); BIONDE(3); PUSTAY(1). DP
      - Rutgers 1. LOB - St. John;s 7; Rutgers 10. 2B - A. DeRosa(10); B.Hershelman(2); B.
      Graiser(4). 3B - NORMANE(2). HBP - WOLSKI; VASQUEZ. SH - D. Sullivan(2). SF - R.
      Downs(1); BADGER(2). SB - BADGER(16).
    
      St. John's                     IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      J. Reid ...................   2.1  5  6  3  4  2   1  0  0  0   13 17   3  1
      G. Holmes  L,2-3...........   3.0  1  1  1  4  3   2  0  2  0    9 16   3  3
      M.Tamulionis ..............   0.2  0  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0    2  2   2  0
    
      Rutgers                        IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      PUSTAY, Matt ..............   4.1  4  5  4  2  2   0  1  0  0   17 20   9  1
      ATCHISON, Sean  W,3-1......   2.0  4  1  1  1  0   0  0  0  0   10 12   3  3
      LILLIS, Chris  S,3.........   0.2  0  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0    2  2   1  1
    
      WP - J. Reid(5); G. Holmes 2(11). HB - G. Holmes 2. BK - PUSTAY(1). PB - M. Wagner(2).
    
      Strikeouts - A. DeRosa; M. Rozema; GROSE; FRAZIER 2; ESPOSITO; DEFENDIS. Walks - J.
      Martin; M. Wagner 2; BADGER 2; GROSE; ESPOSITO; WOLSKI; NORMANE; BIONDE 2.
    
      Umpires -
      Start: 12:00 pm   Time: 2:45   Attendance: 250
    
                                  ** 2003 RUTGERS BASEBALL **
                                     St. John's at Rutgers
                      Apr 17, 2003 at Piscataway, NJ (Class of 53 Complex)
    
      St. John's 7 (18-17,7-5 BIG EAST)             Rutgers 9 (14-14,8-3 BIG EAST)
    
      Player                      AB  R  H BI       Player                      AB  R  H BI
      ---------------------------------------       ---------------------------------------
      D. Sullivan 3b.............  5  1  1  0       BADGER, Graig 2b...........  5  1  1  2
      A. DeRosa lf...............  5  2  2  2       GROSE, Jeff lf.............  4  1  2  2
      M. Rozema ss...............  4  0  2  1       FRAZIER, Jeff rf...........  5  1  2  1
      E. Schultz 1b..............  5  0  1  0       ESPOSITO, Vinny 3b.........  3  1  0  0
      D. Jackson dh..............  3  0  0  0       WOLSKI, Matt dh............  3  1  1  0
       B. Bianco dh..............  2  1  1  0       NORMANE, Steve 1b..........  3  1  2  2
      B.Hershelman c.............  3  1  2  0       ROSARIO, Jamell cf.........  4  1  1  1
      R. Downs rf................  3  0  1  0        GAYNOR, Colin cf..........  1  0  0  0
       G. Thomson rf.............  1  1  1  0        DEFENDIS, Johnny cf.......  0  0  0  0
      B. Graiser cf..............  4  1  3  1       VASQUEZ, Alberto c.........  3  1  0  0
      B. Hardie 2b...............  3  0  1  2        MOSKOWITZ, Lee c..........  0  0  0  0
      A. Varvaro p...............  0  0  0  0       BIONDE, Mike ss............  3  1  1  0
       G. Fregoso p..............  0  0  0  0       MALAFRONTE, Tom p..........  0  0  0  0
       T. Klemm p................  0  0  0  0        ACOMPORA, Bobby p.........  0  0  0  0
       C. Hansen p...............  0  0  0  0        LILLIS, Chris p...........  0  0  0  0
       K. Hansen p...............  0  0  0  0
      Totals..................... 38  7 15  6       Totals..................... 34  9 10  8
    
      Score by Innings                    R  H  E
      -------------------------------------------
      St. John's.......... 011 010 130 -  7 15  2
      Rutgers............. 000 612 00X -  9 10  3
      -------------------------------------------
    
      E - D. Sullivan; R. Downs; ESPOSITO; MALAFRONTE; ACOMPORA. DP - Rutgers 2. LOB - St.
      John;s 8; Rutgers 10. 2B - A. DeRosa; B. Hardie; BADGER; FRAZIER 2; NORMANE. 3B - D.
      Sullivan; GROSE. HR - A. DeRosa. SB - M. Rozema; G. Thomson; B. Graiser; NORMANE. CS
      - BIONDE.
    
      St. John's                     IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      A. Varvaro  L,3-4..........   4.0  7  7  7  4  3   0  0  0  0   20 24   5  4
      G. Fregoso ................   2.0  2  2  2  3  3   2  0  0  0    7 10   2  0
      T. Klemm ..................   1.2  1  0  0  2  0   0  0  0  0    6  8   1  4
      C. Hansen .................   0.0  0  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0    0  0   0  0
      K. Hansen .................   0.1  0  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0    1  1   0  1
    
      Rutgers                        IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      MALAFRONTE, Tom  W,2-1.....   6.0 10  3  2  3  2   1  1  0  0   24 27   4  7
      ACOMPORA, Bobby ...........   1.1  4  4  3  1  0   0  0  0  0    7  8   2  1
      LILLIS, Chris  S,4.........   1.2  1  0  0  0  1   0  0  0  0    7  7   1  3
    
      WP - G. Fregoso 2; MALAFRONTE. BK - MALAFRONTE. PB - VASQUEZ.
    
      Strikeouts - A. DeRosa; B.Hershelman; B. Graiser; BADGER; ESPOSITO; ROSARIO 3;
      VASQUEZ. Walks - M. Rozema; B.Hershelman 2; B. Hardie; GROSE; ESPOSITO 2; WOLSKI 2;
      NORMANE 2; VASQUEZ; BIONDE.
    
      Umpires -
      Start: 3:30 pm   Time: 6:30   Attendance:
      Game: SJU-2
    Next Game
    3:30 PM vs. WAGNER
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