Monday, May 10, 2004
By Mike Ballard
RAPTOR OF THE WEEK
Sophomore Michelle Schlichtig hurled the Rutgers-Camden softball team to the championship game of the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals before the Lady Raptors’ record-setting season ended May 10. While pitching five of the Raptors’ six games at the regionals, Schlichtig worked 35 innings, allowing only three earned runs, 27 hits and seven walks. She struck out 43 and posted a 0.60 ERA in her outings, which included three games against regional winner Salisbury University, the second-ranked team in the nation. Schlichtig finished her season with a host of school records, including 11 shutouts, 284 strikeouts and 23 wins. She also collected 52 hits, including eight in the regionals, to establish another single-season school mark. She capped her season by earning a berth on the regional all-tournament team.
NCAA Division III Championship Tournament
Saturday, May 8
Sunday, May 9
Monday, May 10
The Rutgers-Camden softball team ended its record-setting season with a 36-11 record, one victory shy of reaching the 2004 NCAA Division III Softball Championships. The Lady Raptors extended top-seed and host Salisbury University to a winner-take-all final game before the Sea Gulls won the Mid-Atlantic Regionals, 3-0 on May 10.
In the title game, Salisbury senior first baseman Rosie Aley ripped a three-run double in the top of the seventh inning to help the Sea Gulls capture the regional championship. Salisbury, 38-6 and ranked No. 2 in the country, advanced to the 2004 NCAA Division III Softball Championships, which begin Friday in Salem, Virginia. The Sea Gulls were the national runnerup last season.
Rutgers-Camden’s record-setting season included eight more victories than the previous school record, set last year. Three of the Raptors’ 11 losses came against Salisbury, including a pair by 1-0 scores. The Raptors also defeated Salisbury, 1-0 in nine innings, Sunday to force Monday’s winner-take-all regional final.
Monday’s championship game marked the fourth pitchers’ duel of the season between sophomore aces Michelle Schlichtig (Barrington, NJ/Haddon Heights) of Rutgers-Camden and Lacey Lister of Salisbury. For the fourth time, the game headed down to the wire before the Sea Gulls loaded the bases in the top of the seventh following a leadoff single by sophomore shortstop Kristy Shaffer. Junior left fielder Kareem Falcon reached on a sacrifice fielder’s choice. Following another sacrifice, freshman center fielder Serena Fleming walked, setting the stage for Aley’s double to left field.
Schlichtig (23-8) finished with a seven-hitter. The Sea Gulls’ three runs were the only earned runs she allowed against Salisbury all season in 29-1/3 innings against the Sea Gulls. Schlichtig walked two and struck out eight.
Lister (28-2) hurled her third shutout against Rutgers-Camden this season. She hurled a two-hitter, allowing only a pair of singles by Schlichtig, who finished her year with a single-season school record of 52 hits. Lister walked three and struck out six.
Aley and Shaffer each went 2-for-3 for Salisbury to account for four of the seven hits off Schlichtig.
Four Scarlet Raptors were named to the all-tournament team from the Salisbury Regional: Schlichtig, freshman right fielder Autumn Millett (Richwood, NJ/Clearview Regional), junior outfielder/pitcher Becky Johnson (Bridgeton, NJ/Cumberland Regional) and freshman first baseman Ashley O’Brien (Phoenixville, PA/Spring Ford).
Facing a must-win situation May 9, O’Brien ripped a one-out home run to right field in the top of the ninth inning to break up a classic pitchers’ duel and lead Rutgers-Camden over Salisbury, 1-0. That victory forced the winner-take-all game May 10 for the regional crown.
Salisbury entered that game as the lone undefeated team remaining in the regionals. The Sea Gulls watched Rutgers-Camden rip second-seeded King’s College, 10-3, in the losers’ bracket final before the Raptors’ Schlichtig edged Salisbury’s Lister in the marathon pitchers’ duel. The game marked the third time Rutgers-Camden and Salisbury played to a 1-0 decision this season, and the first time the game wasn’t decided on an unearned run. Salisbury won the first two games.
In the May 9 game against Salisbury, Schlichtig earned her second victory of the day. She allowed nine hits and four walks, while striking out eight. The shutout was her 11th of the year, setting a Rutgers-Camden single-season record, passing the mark of 10 she had shared with Sarah O’Malley (2002).
Lister hurled a seven-hitter, walking two and striking out eight.
Schlichtig had two of the seven hits off Lister. Salisbury junior catcher Kim Rementer had three of the Sea Gulls’ hits off Schlichtig.
In the first game, Rutgers-Camden eliminated King’s (39-10), aided by a five-run second inning which featured four hits and three errors. Freshman catcher Mo Baney (Deptford, NJ/Deptford) started the frame by reaching on a dropped fly ball in center field, and advanced to third on a double by O’Brien. Freshman left fielder Tara Fisher (Upper Deerfield, NJ/Cumberland Regional) singled home one run and stole second. After an infield error loaded the bases, freshman second baseman Stacy Haas (Florence, NJ/Florence) singled home a run. Schlichtig followed with an RBI single to left, and another run scored on an outfield error. The final run was squeezed home by Millett.
King’s cut the margin to 5-3 with three unearned runs in the third inning, but that was all the Monarchs managed off of Schlichtig, who worked five innings of five-hit ball, walking one and striking out six. Johnson hurled shutout ball over the final two innings for Rutgers-Camden, allowing one hit and one walk, while striking out one.
The Raptors put the game away with an unearned run in the fifth inning and a four-run explosion in the sixth. O’Brien had an RBI double, Fisher hit an RBI single and both Haas and Schlichtig collected RBIs with bases-loaded walks.
For the game, O’Brien went 3-for-5 with three doubles, tying O’Malley’s single-game school record for doubles set March 19, 2002 against Hamilton College in the opening game of a doubleheader. Fisher went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs.
The Raptors fell into the losers’ bracket May 8 with a 1-0 loss against Salisbury as the Sea Gulls scored an unearned run in the third inning, sparked by a one-out bunt single by Rementer. Freshman second baseman Nichole Fuqua collected an infield single, and freshman center fielder Serena Fleming reached on a fielder’s choice, forcing Rementer at third. With two outs, Aley reached on an error by the Raptors’ left fielder, plating the lone run off of tough-luck losing pitcher Schlichtig.
It marked the second time this season Schlichtig has lost a 1-0 game against Salisbury on an unearned run. She lost March 12 at the Sea Gull Invitational on an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Schlichtig allowed four hits and no walks, while striking out 10. Salisbury’s winning pitcher, Lister, hurled a three-hit shutout, walking four and striking out six.
On May 7, the Lady Raptors opened the regionals with an 8-0 win over Mary Baldwin College, followed by a 3-0 shutout against King’s College.
Millett slammed a three-run home run in the first inning and Schlichtig hurled a perfect game into the seventh inning to lead third-seeded Rutgers-Camden over No. 2 King’s. In their first game of the day, the Lady Raptors rode Johnson’s one-hitter to a 8-0 victory over No. 6 Mary Baldwin College in a five-inning game.
Schlichtig followed by hurling a two-hit shutout, striking out 11. She didn’t walk a batter as she tied the program single-season record of 10 shutouts, set by Sarah O’Malley in 2002.
Millett hit her eighth home run of the season following a single by Haas and a walk to Johnson.
King's junior starter Sarah Genewski allowed five hits and three runs in 3-2/3 innings to take the loss.
In the first NCAA tourney game in the softball program’s history, Rutgers-Camden exploded for seven runs on six hits in the bottom of the first inning. First baseman Schlichtig opened the inning with a double. Millett singled home Schlichtig with the first run of the inning, and O’Brien ripped a two-run single. A pair of freshmen, Fisher and Haas, each collected RBI singles in the inning, which was capped by a two-run double from Schlichtig, her team-leading 13th double of the season.
The Raptors, who sent 12 batters to the plate in the big inning, added their final run in the second inning when Millett singled, stole second and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Johnson hurled a one-hitter to improve to 13-3. She struck out 10 and didn’t walk a batter in recording her ninth shutout of the season. The only hit she allowed was a leadoff single in the first inning by sophomore center fielder Tiffany Morris. The Raptors also made an infield error in that frame, but Johnson settled down and worked out of the jam with two strikeouts, starting a string of six consecutive strikeouts. She didn’t allow a base runner the rest of the game.
Denise Michael suffered the complete-game loss for Mary Baldwin, allowing nine hits, eight earned runs and three walks. She didn’t strike out a batter.
Schlichtig and Millett each had two hits for the Lady Raptors.
Earlier in the week, the Lady Raptors reaped their rewards for capturing the program’s first New Jersey Athletic Conference championship. Rutgers-Camden placed six players on the All-NJAC First Team, including NJAC Player of the Year Schlichtig, while Rutgers-Camden’s Carl Taylor earned NJAC Coach of the Year honors.
Schlichtig joined Haas, Millett, Johnson, Baney and junior shortstop Celeste Chinappi (Bellmawr, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) on the All-NJAC First Team.
The Scarlet Raptors closed their season May 4 with a 9-5 home loss against Delaware Valley College as the Aggies rallied from a 5-1 deficit, aided by a solo home run in the fourth inning from senior first baseman Mark Roth and a three-run shot in the seventh by junior left fielder Brandon McCabe.
Rutgers-Camden, which was celebrating Senior Night, closed its season at 16-23-1 with its sixth straight loss. Delaware Valley College improved to 24-11 with its seventh straight win.
The Senior Night celebration marked the last game in the careers of six Scarlet Raptor seniors right fielder Brian Murphy (Sewell, NJ/Paul VI), second baseman Barry Huver (Williamstown, NJ/Williamstown), catcher Frank Marciano (Erial, NJ/Highland), shortstop David Petitt (Lindenwold, NJ/Overbrook), designated hitter Mike Carlino (Pennsauken, NJ/Camden Catholic) and catcher Shaun Gismonde (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill West). It also marked the final game for sophomore starting pitcher Tom White (Woodbury, NJ/West Deptford), who will be transferring to Rutgers-New Brunswick in the fall to pursue his Pharmacy major.
White, who hurled 5-2/3 strong innings, was hurling a no-hit shutout and nursing a 2-0 lead until Roth homered with one out in the fourth inning. After the Raptors added three runs in the fourth to make it 5-1, the Aggies started their comeback with two runs in the fifth on a two-out, two-run double by sophomore shortstop A.J. DeNardo.
White finished his Rutgers-Camden career with a 5-3 lead, allowing six hits, four walks and three earned runs in 5-2/3 innings. He struck out one.
The Aggies’ potent attack gave Delaware Valley College the lead for good in a four-run seventh inning, which featured five hits. The biggest hit was a long three-run homer to right-center by McCabe, whose 10th round-tripper of the season vaulted the Aggies into a 7-5 lead.
Delaware Valley tacked on a pair of runs in the eighth on two hits, an error and a sacrifice fly by Mark Roth. Senior right fielder Bret Thiel added an RBI single in the frame.
The Scarlet Raptors loaded the bases in the eighth on three consecutive one-out walks off of freshman reliever Stuart Goldstein, but senior lefty Ken Keiffer worked out of the jam with an infield pop and a fly out, and hurled a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season.
Sophomore Dave Keeler, the second of four Aggie pitchers, collected the win with three scoreless innings, hiking his record to 5-1. Scarlet Raptors junior reliever Matt Novella (Lindenwold, NJ/Overbrook), extending his school career record with his 45th appearance, took the loss, dropping to 3-2.
The Scarlet Raptors took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run double by Petitt, who finished the night 1-for-2 with three walks. They added three runs in the fourth inning on three hits, two errors and a double steal.
DeNardo went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs to lead DVC’s 13-hit attack. Sophomore first baseman Matt Calloway (Blackwood, NJ/Highland) went 3-for-5 with one run scored for Rutgers-Camden, while junior right fielder Dustin Roach (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) went 2-for-4 with one run.
On May 6, the New Jersey Athletic Conference announced that Murphy and junior pitcher Matt Ulmer (Beverly, NJ/Holy Cross) captured All-NJAC Honorable Mention.
Murphy’s honor caps a stellar four-year run which saw him set practically every Rutgers-Camden career offensive record. The slugging outfielder, who played in right field for three years before moving to center as a senior, has received three All-NJAC Honorable Mention awards over his career, in addition to an All-NJAC Second Team and a Rookie of the Year honor. He added a pair of Second Team New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association honors and also won a Second Team NCAA Div. III Mid-Atlantic Region All-America honor. He ranks second on the all-time NCAA Division III list with 26 triples, and holds 11 Rutgers-Camden career records, five single-season records and shares single-game marks with two triples and two sacrifice flies.
Murphy finished his senior season hitting .298 and leading the team in at bats (171), hits (51), doubles (11), triples (4), home runs (6), RBIs (29) and stolen bases (11).
He finished his career with records for games (154), at bats (609), hits (208), runs (160), doubles (46), triples (26), home runs (21), total bases (369), sacrifice flies (8), walks (77) and strikeouts (135). He set a single-season mark with 171 at bats this season, and also holds the season marks for total bases (105, 2001), runs scored (51, 2002), triples (11, 2002), and home runs (9, 2001).
Ulmer earned NJAC Honorable Mention for the second consecutive year after fashioning a fine 2.35 ERA and a 4-5 record. He placed fifth among all NJAC pitchers in ERA and third among all pitchers with 30 or more innings pitched.
Ulmer allowed 33 runs, only 21 of them earned, while setting a single-season program record for innings pitched with 80-1/3. Unfortunately for Ulmer, his team scored only 37 runs in his nine starts (an average of 4.1). Outside of the Raptors’ offensive outburst in a 7-1 victory, the Raptors averaged only 3.75 runs in his other eight starts. He walked 17 and struck out 51.
Ulmer was named NJAC Pitcher of the Week April 19, and also earned the school’s Raptor of the Week award twice this season, winning on March 8 and April 19.
TRACK AND FIELD
|©2004 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.