BRIDGEWATER, NJ – The Rutgers University baseball team’s bid for its first BIG EAST Championship since 2000 fell short as Notre Dame outlasted RU, 11-3 in the decisive title game. ND’s victory came just three hours after Rutgers forced a winner-take-all title game with a thrilling 15-11 win that features a six-run ninth inning by the Scarlet Knights. The 2003 Championship ended the same way as the 2002 version – with Notre Dame besting Rutgers in the finale." />
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Notre Dame Bests Rutgers, 11-3, in BIG EAST Baseball Championship
RU AWAITS NCAA SELECTION SHOW ON MONDAY AFTERNOON
  • Posted on May 24, 2003 12:00:00 AM
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  • BRIDGEWATER, NJ – The Rutgers University baseball team’s bid for its first BIG EAST Championship since 2000 fell short as Notre Dame outlasted RU, 11-3 in the decisive title game. ND’s victory came just three hours after Rutgers forced a winner-take-all title game with a thrilling 15-11 win that features a six-run ninth inning by the Scarlet Knights. The 2003 Championship ended the same way as the 2002 version – with Notre Dame besting Rutgers in the finale. With today’s split, RU is now 36-20.

    Notre Dame opened up the decisive final game by scoring three runs in the first inning off RU starter Jim Jansen (Hillsdale, NJ). Rutgers pushed through its first run in the third as Vinny Esposito (Middletown, NJ) ripped a leadoff double to the gap in right center and Steve Normane (Pt. Pleasant, NJ) singled to left field, plating Esposito. After Notre Dame knocked in two additional runs in the top half of the third to open a 5-1 edge, Jeff Frazier (Toms River, NJ) slapped a single though the right side, bringing home Matt Wolski (Hamiltown, NJ) and cutting ND’s lead to 5-2.

    The Irish added a run in the fifth to make it 6-2, before Frazier clobbered a Matt Laird offering over the fence in left field to lead off the sixth inning, cutting the RU deficit to three (5-2). The home run, his eighth of the season, tied Normane for the team lead.

    Notre Dame built an insurmountable lead with a three-run seventh inning and a two-run home run by Joe Thaman in the ninth, rounding out the 11-3 final score.

    Jansen lasted 2.1 innings, allowing five runs on six hits. He struck out one and walked one. Erik Dial (Basking Ridge, NJ) pitched 2.1 innings of middle relief, surrendering three hits, a run and a walk. Shaun Parker (Westampton, NJ), the starter in Rutgers’ second BIG EAST Championship game against the Irish the day before, gave up three runs (two earned) on one hit. OJ DeChristofano (Pequannock, NJ), who pitched one complete inning in Rutgers first game of the evening, pitched the final 2.2 innings, surrendering two runs on two hits, striking out one and walking two. ND’s Matt Laird pitched a complete-game, giving up three runs (two earned) on nine hits, striking out six.

    In the opener, Rutgers forced the winner-take-all match up with a 15-11 victory over the Irish. Facing elimination, Rutgers scored two runs in the first, a run in the second, four in the fourth and two more in the sixth to take a 9-1 lead entering through five and a half innings of play. The Irish countered in the bottom half of the sixth, scoring six runs of their own to cut the RU lead to two (9-7). Notre Dame followed its sixth run sixth inning with two run each in the seventh and eighth to take an 11-9 lead into the ninth.

    Down for the first time in the game, Rutgers scored six runs in the ninth to take the lead for good, 15-11. Bridgewater, NJ native Cory Rodriguez led off the inning with a pinch-hit single and Graig Badger (Union, NJ) doubled to center field to put the tying runs in scoring position. Wolski then singled up the middle, scoring Rodriguez and Badger to tie the contest. Frazier drilled a double to left center to bring home Wolski for the deciding run in the contest. Rutgers then tacked on three insurance runs in the inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Alberto Vasquez (Jersey City, NJ). Sean Atchison (Hanover Park, NJ), less than 24 hours after throwing 86 pitches to earn the win vs. West Virginia, closed the door on Notre Dame with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

    The game featured 26 combined runs, the most ever for a BIG EAST Championship, surpassing 24 runs set by Rutgers (14) and St. Johns’s (10) on May 15, 1998. Notre Dame pitchers issued a BIG EAST Championship record 13 walks, eclipsing the old mark of 12 set by Seton Hall and Villanova both on May 16, 1987. In addition, Badger reached base a championship-record seven times in the game (four walks, two doubles, one single).

    Rutgers now awaits a possible bid into the NCAA Championships, announced live on ESPN2 on Monday, May 26 at 12:30 p.m. RU has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in four of the last five seasons, making appearances in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

                                  ** 2003 RUTGERS BASEBALL **
                                      NOTRDAME vs Rutgers
                     May 24, 2003 at Bridgewater, NJ (Commerce Bank Ballpk)
    
      NOTRDAME 11 (43-16)                           Rutgers 3 (36-20)
    
      Player                      AB  R  H BI       Player                      AB  R  H BI
      ---------------------------------------       ---------------------------------------
      Steve Sollmann 2b..........  6  1  1  0       BADGER, Graig 2b...........  5  0  1  0
      Brennan Grogan lf..........  3  1  1  0       WOLSKI, Matt dh............  3  1  1  0
       Craig Cooper ph/lf........  1  0  0  0       FRAZIER, Jeff rf...........  4  1  2  2
      Steve Andres dh............  4  1  0  0       ESPOSITO, Vinny 3b.........  4  1  2  0
      Matt Edwards 3b............  4  1  3  3       NORMANE, Steve 1b..........  4  0  2  1
       Greg Lopez 3b.............  0  0  0  0       VASQUEZ, Alberto c.........  3  0  0  0
      Kris Billmaier cf..........  4  2  1  2       DEFENDIS, Johnny lf........  4  0  1  0
      Matt Macri ss..............  2  1  0  0       CERULO, Nick cf............  3  0  0  0
      Cody Rizzo rf..............  3  2  1  0       BIONDE, Mike ss............  3  0  0  0
      Javi Sanchez c.............  3  1  2  1        SHADE, Leon ph............  1  0  0  0
      Joe Thaman 1b..............  4  1  3  3       JANSEN, Jim p..............  0  0  0  0
      Matt Laird p...............  0  0  0  0        DIAL, Erik p..............  0  0  0  0
                                                     PARKER, Shaun p...........  0  0  0  0
                                                     DECHRISTOFANO, OJ p.......  0  0  0  0
      Totals..................... 34 11 12  9       Totals..................... 34  3  9  3
    
      Score by Innings                    R  H  E
      -------------------------------------------
      NOTRDAME............ 302 010 302 - 11 12  1
      Rutgers............. 011 001 000 -  3  9  1
      -------------------------------------------
    
      E - Matt Macri; BADGER. DP - NOTRDAME 1; Rutgers 1. LOB - NOTRDAME 9; Rutgers 7. 2B
      - Matt Edwards; ESPOSITO(16). HR - K. Billmaier; Joe Thaman; FRAZIER(8). HBP - Craig
      Cooper; Steve Andres; Matt Macri; WOLSKI. SH - Matt Macri; Javi Sanchez; Joe Thaman;
      VASQUEZ. SB - Matt Edwards.
    
      NOTRDAME                       IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Matt Laird  W,2-1..........   9.0  9  3  2  1  6   1  0  1  0   34 37   3 17
    
      Rutgers                        IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      JANSEN, Jim  L,3-4.........   2.1  6  5  5  1  1   1  0  1  0   12 15   2  4
      DIAL, Erik ................   2.1  3  1  1  1  0   0  0  1  0    9 11   3  3
      PARKER, Shaun .............   1.2  1  3  2  3  2   0  0  1  0    5 10   0  3
      DECHRISTOFANO, OJ .........   2.2  2  2  2  2  1   0  0  0  0    8 11   2  4
    
      WP - Matt Laird; JANSEN. HB - Matt Laird; JANSEN; DIAL; PARKER.
    
      Strikeouts - Steve Andres; Matt Macri; Cody Rizzo; Joe Thaman; BADGER; WOLSKI;
      VASQUEZ; CERULO; BIONDE; SHADE. Walks - Craig Cooper; Matt Edwards; K. Billmaier;
      Matt Macri; Cody Rizzo 2; Javi Sanchez; CERULO.
    
      Umpires -
      Start: 8:05   Time: 2:50   Attendance: 2127
      Game: ND-BE3
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