(Photo credit to the Rutgers’ Instagram page, the shot of Nate Roe can be viewed, liked, and shared here)

Looking to rebound off a disappointing 19-34 (overall) finish, Rutgers heads into this season with a new-look front office, highlighted by the additions of Peter Barron (Director of Player Development) and Jim Duffy (assistant coach).

Barron joins the Rutgers staff after spending two seasons as the director of baseball operations for St. John’s University. Barron said he is “very excited to join Rutgers baseball, and to be able to join the Big Ten conference.”

Duffy spent six seasons as the head coach of the University of Manhattan, where his presence was immediately felt. In 2012, he led Manhattan to the MAAC Championship which earned Manhattan a berth in the NCAA Regionals. Duffy leaves Manhattan’s program with 134 wins, and four MAAC tournament appearances.

Returning talent

Returning players Chris Folinusz and Nick Matera look to continue their success, after earning All-Big Ten honors last season. In his redshirt junior season, Foliniusz played 41 games, leading the team with a .323 batting average against the Big Ten. Two-sport standout Jawuan Harris is expected to be a major piece of the team, as he finished second in the Big Ten with 23 stolen bases, and finished 13th with eight home runs. Harris also led the team with 39 runs scored. He is a key piece at the top of the Scarlet Knights’ lineup. Right-handed pitcher John O’Reilly is expected to remain the club’s number one pitcher, after a solid junior season. The Scarlet Knights have plenty of returning talent to build off of and help groom the incoming young talent.

Freshman to keep an eye on

Left-handed pitcher Harry Rutkowski has a lot of Rutgers’ players and coaches excited, as they expect him to make an immediate impact. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound southpaw posted a 9-1 record at Woodbridge High School as a senior in 2017, and had an ERA of 0.59 in 70 innings of work. Rutkowski earned NJ.com’s 2017 Baseball Player of the Year, amongst many other honors.

Final take

At the conclusion of the 2017 season, Coach Litterio made it a point that his team needed to improve upon its inconsistency. The team was able to win some big games, but often came out flat following these big wins. Coach Litterio believes the overall defense of the team needs to improve, as errors were a major factor in key losses. The constant struggles of the starting pitching and defense led to the team’s propensity to underachieve last season. Coach Litterio believes they will be able to improve their roster based on their incoming talent.

Phillip Matalucci

Scout with CBBSN. Rutgers University.

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