TALLAHASSEE, FL – Fitted with a protective mask on his helmet after being hit in the face with a pitch yesterday, junior Vinny Esposito (Middletown, NJ) showed no effects from the injury and altered equipment. Back in the lineup, he delivered an RBI single during a three-run first inning and capped a four-run rally in the seventh with a two-run home run to lead Rutgers past Jacksonville, 8-5, this afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium." />
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Esposito’s Return Lifts Rutgers Past Jacksonville, 8-5
CERULO’S TRIPLE IGNITES A FOUR-RUN SEVENTH INNING RALLY
  • Posted on May 31, 2003 12:00:00 AM
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  • TALLAHASSEE, FL – Fitted with a protective mask on his helmet after being hit in the face with a pitch yesterday, junior Vinny Esposito (Middletown, NJ) showed no effects from the injury and altered equipment. Back in the lineup, he delivered an RBI single during a three-run first inning and capped a four-run rally in the seventh with a two-run home run to lead Rutgers past Jacksonville, 8-5, this afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium. Rutgers built an early 4-0 lead but fell behind, 5-4, in the sixth before a Nick Cerulo (Woodbridge, NJ) triple ignited a four-run rally that ended with Esposito’s opposite-field blast. With the win, RU improves to 37-21 and awaits the loser of the 3:30 p.m. Florida State-South Alabama game at 7:00 p.m. tonight. Jacksonville’s season ends at 32-30.

    After scoring just one run in nine innings vs. South Alabama on Friday, Rutgers plated three in the first inning alone on Saturday morning. Graig Badger (Union, NJ) led off with his school-record 53rd walk of the season and moved to second on a sacrifice by Matt Wolski (Hamilton, NJ), his 10th of the season. Jeff Frazier (Toms River, NJ) then doubled to left-center, easily scoring Badger, and he came around when Esposito, in his first at bat since being hit in the face on Friday, smoked a single through the box and into centerfield. Esposito moved to second on a balk and scored on a two-out double by Alberto Vasquez (Jersey City, NJ), which sent JU starter Dennis Robinson (.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB) to the showers.

    After Rutgers extended its lead to 4-0 on a fifth-inning sacrifice fly by Frazier, the Dolphins broke through against Parker with two unearned runs, aided by an error at third by Esposito. That error loaded the bases and a pair of runs scored on a fielder’s choice and bases-loaded walk, cutting the lead in half and ending Parker’s day. Freshman Chris Lillis (Fair Haven, NJ), who pitched 2.2 shutout innings vs. South Alabama, left the bases loaded by striking out the first batter he faced, clean-up hitter Gordie Gronkowski.

    An inning later, Jacksonville put runners on second and third with one out for eight-spot hitter Jon Galui, who responded by driving a two-run double into the gap in right-center, tying the game at 4-4. After reliever Sean Atchison (Florham Park, NJ) retired leadoff-hitter Larry Best-Berfest for the second out, he committed a balk, allowing Galui to walk home with the go-ahead run.

    RU came right back when Cerulo led off with a triple to left-center and scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. Following a one-out walk to Badger and a bloop single by Wolski, the pair executed a double steal, giving Badger 39 on the year, which ties Doug Alongi for the single-season Rutgers record. More importantly, it set the stage for Frazier’s sacrifice fly to center, which gave Rutgers a 6-5 lead. Esposito then homered off the scoreboard in left, extending the lead to 8-5. Jacksonville threatened in the home half of the inning, putting runners at the corners with two outs, but Atchison picked off Gronkowski to end the frame.

    In the ninth, Jacksonville threatened again, as Atchison (7-1) issued back-to-back one-out walks to bring the tying run to the plate. He regrouped and struck out Chris Kelly and Orlando Diaz to end the game and extend Rutgers’ season into the night. Atchison pitched the final 3.2 innings without yielding a run, allowing just two hits while striking out four. He has now earned RU’s last three victories, all out of the bullpen.

                                  ** 2003 RUTGERS BASEBALL **
                                    Rutgers vs Jacksonville
                     May 31, 2003 at Tallahassee, FL (Dick Howser Stadium)
    
      Rutgers 8 (37-21)                             Jacksonville 5 (32-30)
    
      Player                      AB  R  H BI       Player                      AB  R  H BI
      ---------------------------------------       ---------------------------------------
      BADGER, Graig 2b...........  1  2  1  0       BEST-BERFET, Larry 2b......  4  0  0  1
      WOLSKI, Matt dh............  2  1  1  0       HART, Clint lf.............  4  0  1  0
      FRAZIER, Jeff rf...........  3  1  1  3       HAUSEMAN, Chad dh..........  2  0  1  1
      ESPOSITO, Vinny 3b.........  5  2  2  3       GRONKOWSKI, Gordie 1b......  3  0  0  0
      NORMANE, Steve 1b..........  4  0  1  0        BRICKLE, Donald pr........  0  0  0  0
      VASQUEZ, Alberto c.........  4  0  1  1       KELLY, Chris rf............  5  1  1  0
      DEFENDIS, Johnny lf........  4  0  0  0       DIAZ, Orlando 3b...........  5  1  2  0
      CERULO, Nick cf............  4  1  1  0       HUDSON, Rob cf.............  3  1  0  0
      BIONDE, Mike ss............  3  1  0  0       GALUI, Jon c...............  4  2  3  2
      PARKER, Shaun p............  0  0  0  0       CICHRA, Robby ss...........  4  0  1  0
       LILLIS, Chris p...........  0  0  0  0       ROBINSON, Dennis p.........  0  0  0  0
       ATCHISON, Sean p..........  0  0  0  0        DEEL, Josh p..............  0  0  0  0
                                                     MURDOCK, James p..........  0  0  0  0
                                                     BOWMAN, Bobby p...........  0  0  0  0
      Totals..................... 30  8  8  7       Totals..................... 34  5  9  4
    
      Score by Innings                    R  H  E
      -------------------------------------------
      Rutgers............. 300 010 400 -  8  8  1
      Jacksonville........ 000 023 000 -  5  9  0
      -------------------------------------------
    
      E - ESPOSITO. LOB - Rutgers 5; J'VILLE 10. 2B - FRAZIER(19); VASQUEZ; GALUI, J.. 3B
      - CERULO(4). HR - ESPOSITO(3). SH - WOLSKI 2; HUDSON, R.. SF - FRAZIER 2. SB -
      BADGER 3(40); WOLSKI; CICHRA, R.. CS - NORMANE; HAUSEMAN, C..
    
      Rutgers                        IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      PARKER, Shaun .............   4.2  4  2  0  3  4   0  0  0  0   18 21   2  7
      LILLIS, Chris .............   0.2  3  3  3  0  1   0  0  0  0    4  5   0  1
      ATCHISON, Sean  W,7-1......   3.2  2  0  0  4  4   0  1  0  0   12 16   6  0
    
      Jacksonville                   IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ROBINSON, Dennis ..........   0.2  3  3  3  1  1   0  1  0  0    4  6   0  1
      DEEL, Josh ................   6.0  5  5  5  3  4   1  0  0  0   20 26   7  7
      MURDOCK, James  L .........   1.1  0  0  0  0  1   0  0  0  0    3  3   2  0
      BOWMAN, Bobby .............   1.0  0  0  0  2  0   0  0  0  0    3  5   1  2
    
      WP - DEEL, J.. BK - ATCHISON; ROBINSON, D..
    
      Strikeouts - WOLSKI; ESPOSITO; NORMANE 2; CERULO; BIONDE; BEST-BERFET; GRONKOWSKI 2;
      KELLY, C. 3; DIAZ, O.; HUDSON, R.; GALUI, J.. Walks - BADGER 4; WOLSKI; BIONDE;
      BEST-BERFET; HART, C.; HAUSEMAN, C. 3; GRONKOWSKI 2.
    
      Umpires -
      Start: 11:00 am   Time: 3:29   Attendance: 1118
      Game: JU-NCAA
    Next Game
    3:30 PM vs. LAFAYETTE
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