TALLAHASSEE, FL – Second-seeded South Alabama entered the NCAA Regional at Tallahassee as the top hitting team and proved it today, beating third-seeded Rutgers 14-1 in the opening contest this afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium. Rutgers tied the game at 1-1 in the third inning, but the Jaguars scored 13 unanswered runs over the final seven innings of play." />
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South Alabama Beats Rutgers, 14-1, in NCAA Opener
  • Posted on May 30, 2003 12:00:00 AM
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  • TALLAHASSEE, FL – Second-seeded South Alabama entered the NCAA Regional at Tallahassee as the top hitting team and proved it today, beating third-seeded Rutgers 14-1 in the opening contest this afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium. Rutgers tied the game at 1-1 in the third inning, but the Jaguars scored 13 unanswered runs over the final seven innings of play.

    Hitting .325 as a team with 71 home runs, USA broke it open with seven runs in the eighth, highlighted by a bad-hop, two-run single by Tim Land and a three-run home run off the bat off Kevin Sytko, who finished the day with six RBI.

    USA took a 1-0 lead in the second, using a walk and a pair of singles to produce the game’s first run. Rutgers tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the third on an RBI single by Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ). Freshman Mike Bionde (Pompton Plains, NJ) led off with a single and advanced to third on a hit-and-run sacrifice bunt by Graig Badger (Union, NJ).

    The Jaguars snapped the tie quickly with four runs in the bottom of the inning, using a pair of Rutgers errors and a two-run double by their top hitter, Ryan Mulhern, which short-hopped the fence in left-center and scored the first two runs of the inning. An infield error by Bionde (his second of the game) allowed another run to score, while Kevin Sytko drove in the fourth with a two-out single.

    After a scoreless fourth, Rutgers had a great opportunity to chip away, loading the bases with two outs, sandwiching singles by Badger and Cory Rodriguez (Bridgewater, NJ) around a hit-by-pitch with Wolski at the plate. Rodriguez’s infield single set the table for Steve Normane (Pt. Pleasant, NJ), Rutgers’ top hitter with runners on base, who struck out to end the frame.

    USA added xx more in the fifth, stringing together three singles to load the bases with one out for Styko, who hit a hard groundball to Bionde at short, tailor-made for an inning-ending double play. The ball, however, bounded off Bionde’s glove into centerfield, allowing two runs to score and ending the day for RU starter Jack Egbert (Rutherford, NJ) after just 4.1 innings.

    Chris Lillis (Fair Haven, NJ) pitched 2.2 shutout innings of relief, allowing just two hits, but the offense was unable to assemble a rally vs. South Alabama starter Tony Neal, who allowed six hits and one run in 8.0 innings.

    Rutgers will face the loser of tonight’s Florida State (50-10-1) and Jacksonville (32-28) game at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.

    Post-Game Notes
    South Alabama 14, Rutgers 1
    May 30, 2002 * NCAA Regional at Tallahassee, FL

    • Rutgers falls to 14-27 all-time in NCAA games with today’s loss. Today’s loss by 13 runs represents the widest margin of defeat, two runs greater than RU’s 20-9 loss to eventual National Champion Georgia in the 1990 Regional final at Waterbury, CT

    • Junior third baseman Vinny Esposito was hit in the right cheek by a Tony Neal fastball in the first inning and was forced to leave the game. Taken to the on-campus medical facility by the FSU Sports Medicine staff, Esposito was X-rayed and treated for blurred vision. His status for tomorrow’s game is still unknown.

    • Sean Atchison’s relief appearance in the ninth inning was his 28th this season, setting a new Rutgers single-season record. Atchison’s appearance was unmemorable, however, as he gave up three runs without recording an out.

    • Junior Graig Badger walked to lead off the game, extending his single-season school record with 52 walks. He has now reached base in 56 of 57 games this season.

    • Freshman Johnny Defendis saw his 18-game hitting streak come to an end with an 0-for-4 performance. It wasn’t for lack of effort, as Defendis flew out to the warning track in right field and was robbed of an eighth-inning single on a nice diving catch in centerfield by USA’s TJ Touchstone.

    • Senior 1B Steve Normane, who entered the game hitting a team-best .400 with runners in scoring position, left seven runners stranded during the game. He struck out with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth, Rutgers’ last significant chance to score when the game was still within reach.

    • Freshman shortstop Mike Bionde committed three errors in today’s game (two fielding, one throwing), a career high. RU’s starting shortstop in 49 games this season, Bionde entered the game with just five errors all season, best among BIG EAST starting shortstops.

    • Rutgers will send junior lefty Shaun Parker (4-3, 5.06) to the mound in the tournament’s second game, which will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, vs. the loser of tonight’s FSU-Jacksonville game.

    Post-Game Quotes

    Rutgers Head Coach Fred Hill

    "I have every reason to believe we will bounce back and be ready to play tomorrow."

    "I'm sure all of our players are disappointed with our performance today."

    "I'm disappointed. Defensively we didn't play very well at all. We have played outstanding defense all year. I can't give you an answer."

    "I didn't think Jack pitched too bad, he got into some trouble early. We got some balls that should have been handled and they weren't."

    "South Alabama hit some balls good and they hit at the right time."

    # 1 Mike Bionde SS

    "I realize I am in the lineup because of my defense. I let my team down, I can't let it happen again."

    # 9 Jack Egbert Starting Pitcher

    "I felt alright out there, obviously I'm not happy with how I threw. I am not a power pitcher, I get guys out by hitting my spots and changing speeds. Today I really hurt myself with location, left a lot of balls over the plate, guys are going to get hits when you do that."

    "There was a couple times where we made an error, but I feel that it was my fault. If I made better pitches we would have been alright."

    South Alabama Quotes

    Head Coach Steve Kittrell

    The guys came out ready to play. I think they were ready to play in the first game of the Regional against a Big East team. We have a lot of respect for them. Today was our day. I think Tony Neal came out pitching strong.

    We played errorless baseball and I think Tony Neal was just extremely strong on the mound today. And he really gave us a chance to extend our lead. This was a big win, but tomorrow...We are sitting in the same sat we were last year against Notre Dame.

    Left Fielder #17 Ryan Mulhern

    We actually came out kind of slow hitting-wise, but we got it going and then we were seeing pitches and hitting it and putting it in play. It is huge, just getting on a roll like that. It builds some confidence and it feels good.

    Pitcher #45 Tony Neal

    We had such a long inning and I had stiffened up a little bit. We were trying to get Parker back up to see if he could extend his winning streak. I already had 120 pitches and I had stiffened up a little...I was ready to go back out there, but...just for the rest of the tournament, if I am going to be able to throw again. There was no sense in me going out there again and taking a chance of getting hurt.

                                  ** 2003 RUTGERS BASEBALL **
                                    Rutgers vs South Alabama
                     May 30, 2003 at Tallahassee, FL (Dick Howser Stadium)
      Rutgers 1 (36-21)                             South Alabama 14 (41-17)
      Player                      AB  R  H BI       Player                      AB  R  H BI
      ---------------------------------------       ---------------------------------------
      BADGER, Graig 2b...........  2  0  1  0       Touchstone, T.J. cf........  4  1  0  0
       GROVER, Jason ph..........  1  0  0  0        Williams, Kevin M. ph/cf..  1  0  0  0
      WOLSKI, Matt dh............  2  0  1  1       Craig, Cole rf.............  5  2  2  0
       GAYNOR, Colin ph..........  0  0  0  0       Gross, Jason dh............  5  0  1  0
      FRAZIER, Jeff rf...........  4  0  1  0        Froemming, Ben pr.........  0  1  0  0
       MOSKOWITZ, Lee ph.........  1  0  0  0        Fillingim, Ryan ph/dh.....  1  0  0  0
      ESPOSITO, Vinny 3b.........  0  0  0  0       Mulhern, Ryan lf...........  5  3  4  3
       RODRIGUEZ, Cory pr/3b.....  3  0  1  0        Nelson, Ben 1b............  0  0  0  0
      NORMANE, Steve 1b..........  4  0  0  0       Touchstone, Josh 2b........  3  3  1  0
      VASQUEZ, Alberto c.........  4  0  0  0        Rayborn, Jansen ph........  1  0  0  0
      DEFENDIS, Johnny lf........  4  0  0  0        Hawarah, Justin 2b........  0  0  0  0
      CERULO, Nick cf............  3  0  1  0       Lind, Adam 1b..............  4  1  2  2
       SHADE, Leon ph............  1  0  1  0        Laird, Kevin pr/lf........  0  1  0  0
      BIONDE, Mike ss............  3  1  1  0       Land, Tim c................  4  1  3  2
       GROSE, Jeff ph............  1  0  0  0       Sytko, Kevin 3b............  4  1  3  6
      EGBERT, Jack p.............  0  0  0  0       Parker, Brett ss...........  4  0  0  0
       LILLIS, Chris p...........  0  0  0  0       Neal, Tony p...............  0  0  0  0
       DIAL, Erik p..............  0  0  0  0        Jackson, J.J. p...........  0  0  0  0
       ATCHISON, Sean p..........  0  0  0  0
       DECHRISTOFANO, OJ p.......  0  0  0  0
      Totals..................... 33  1  7  1       Totals..................... 41 14 16 13
      Score by Innings                    R  H  E
      Rutgers............. 001 000 000 -  1  7  4
      South Alabama....... 014 020 07X - 14 16  0
      E - BIONDE 3(8); EGBERT(1). LOB - Rutgers 11; So. Alabama 12. 2B - CERULO(6);
      Mulhern 2. HR - Sytko. HBP - WOLSKI; ESPOSITO; Mulhern; Parker. SH - BADGER; Craig;
      Land. SB - Land; Sytko; Parker.
      Rutgers                        IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO
      EGBERT, Jack  L,8-5........   4.1  8  7  2  2  2   0  0  0  0   23 26   4  6
      LILLIS, Chris .............   2.2  2  0  0  1  2   0  0  0  0    9 11   4  2
      DIAL, Erik ................   0.0  3  3  3  0  0   0  0  0  0    3  3   0  0
      ATCHISON, Sean ............   0.0  1  3  3  2  0   0  0  0  0    1  3   0  0
      DECHRISTOFANO, OJ .........   1.0  2  1  1  0  1   0  0  2  0    5  7   1  1
      South Alabama                  IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO
      Neal, Tony  W,10-5.........   8.0  6  1  1  2  3   0  0  2  0   29 34  13  8
      Jackson, J.J. .............   1.0  1  0  0  1  2   1  0  0  0    4  5   0  1
      WP - Jackson. HB - DECHRISTOFNO 2; Neal 2.
      Strikeouts - MOSKOWITZ; NORMANE; DEFENDIS; CERULO; GROSE; Williams, KM; Craig;
      Touchstone,J; Land; Parker. Walks - BADGER; WOLSKI; GAYNOR; Touchstone,T;
      Touchstone,J 2; Lind; Sytko.
      Umpires -
      Start: 3:00 pm   Time: 2:51   Attendance: 1815
      Game: USA-1
      DIAL faced 3 batters in the 8th.
      ATCHISON faced 3 batters in the 8th.
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