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College Baseball:
Raptor of the Week: Jason Ronca

Monday, March 28, 2005

By Mike Ballard
RutgersCamden Sports Correspondent

Jason Ronca (Eastampton, NJ/Rancocas Valley)

Sophomore pitcher Jason Ronca threw no-hit ball for 6-1/3 innings and finished with a three-hitter over 7-2/3 innings during a 5-2 victory over Gwynedd-Mercy College March 22. Ronca allowed just two earned runs, both in the eighth inning, had five walks and struck out nine. With the victory, he raised his record to 2-0. He owns. a 1.23 ERA in 14-2/3 innings this season.


Tue., Mar. 22 Rutgers-Camden 5, Gwynedd-Mercy College 2
Wed., Mar. 23 New Jersey City University ppd. TBA
Thur., Mar. 24 Rutgers-Camden 5, Haverford College 3
Sat., Mar. 26 Rutgers-Camden 9, John Jay College of Criminal Justice 1


Wed., Mar. 30 Arcadia University 3 p.m.
Thur., Mar. 31 at Franklin & Marshall College 3 p.m.
Fri., Apr. 1 The College of New Jersey 3 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 2 at Montclair State University (DH) 11:30 a.m.
Tues., Apr. 5 at Catholic University 3:30 p.m.
Wed., Apr. 6 Eastern University 3:30 p.m.
Fri., Apr. 8 at Rowan University 3:30 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 9 at Rutgers University-Newark (DH) 12 p.m.
Tues., Apr. 12 at Gwynedd-Mercy College 3 p.m.
Wed., Apr. 13 Delaware Valley College 7 p.m.
Fri., Apr. 15 at The College of New Jersey 3:30 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 16 at Kean University (DH) 12 p.m.
Mon., Apr. 18 at Wesley College 3:30 p.m.
Tues., Apr. 19 FDU-Florham 3:30 p.m.
Wed., Apr. 20 DeSales University 3:30 p.m.

Pitching, timely hitting and opportunistic play led the Rutgers-Camden baseball team to a 3-0 week in its return to Campbell’s Field, stretching the Raptors’ winning streak to six games. Rutgers-Camden, which has won 10 of its last 11 games, improved to 11-2.

Freshman second baseman Dean Straga (Mullica Hill, NJ/Clearview Regional) collected four hits and junior DH Nick Faragasso (Sewell, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) had three RBIs, including a tie-breaking solo home run, as the Rutgers University-Camden baseball team defeated John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 9-1, in a non-conference game March 26, helping the Raptors to sweep their three home games for the week.

The Scarlet Raptors and the Bloodhounds were locked in a 1-1 tie entering the bottom of the sixth inning. Rutgers-Camden had scored a first-inning unearned run off John Jay sophomore pitcher John Dobkowski and the Bloodhounds countered with an unearned run in the fifth off of Scarlet Raptor junior Tom Ford (Laurel Springs, NJ/Paul VI).

With two outs in the sixth, Faragasso ripped a home run to left field, giving the Raptors the lead for good at 2-1. It was his first home run of the season.

Rutgers-Camden broke the game open over the next two innings off Dobkowski (1-3) and a pair of relievers. The Raptors notched three runs in the seventh, aided by Faragasso’s two-run double, and tacked on a four-run eighth inning, aided by three hit batsmen and a two-run double by junior pinch-hitter Andrew Silipino (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton).

Straga, meanwhile, sparked the offense from the leadoff spot. Making only his second varsity start, he ripped singles in the first, fifth, seventh and eighth innings, finishing the day 4-for-5 with three runs and one stolen base.

Rutgers-Camden collected 13 hits in the game, as Faragasso, junior shortstop Tyler Inkster (Audubon, NJ/Audubon) and sophomore center fielder Nate Buchter (Blackwood, NJ/Highland Regional) each had two hits. Buchter stretched his team-high hitting streak to eight games.

Ford worked six innings of six-hit ball in raising his record to 3-0. He allowed one walk and one unearned run, while striking out five.

Dobkowski finished the day allowing 10 hits and five runs - only three earned – in seven innings. He walked three and struck out six.

Rutgers-Camden scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, aided by three Haverford errors, and went on to defeat the Fords, 5-3, in a non-conference game March 24 in Camden.

Haverford built a 3-0 lead through 4-1/2 innings behind the pitching of senior Nick Chanock, who allowed only a pair of singles over the first four innings.

Haverford scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings off Rutgers-Camden senior ace Matt Ulmer (Beverly, NJ/Holy Cross), including an unearned tally in the third that broke a scoreless tie. The Fords added a run in the fourth on a two-out single by sophomore catcher Kenny McAlpine and a run-scoring double by sophomore shortstop Ben Einbinder. They tacked on a fifth-inning run on three straight two-out singles, including an RBI hit by junior first baseman Tim McLean.

The Scarlet Raptors cut their deficit to 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth following a leadoff double by senior DH Dustin Roach (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee). He scored on a two-out single by Inkster.

The Raptors tied the game with a two-run seventh, sparked by a one-out single from Buchter.

Sophomore right fielder Mike Morris (Sewell, NJ/Washington Township) followed with a double to right, and Buchter scored on a wild pitch. Inkster, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs on the day, tied the game, plating Morris with a single.

Three infield errors led to Chanock’s undoing in the eighth inning. A one-out error allowed Straga to reach base and brought in sophomore Jon Berke to replace Chanock. One out later, Straga scored on a single by Roach, who was balked to second and replaced by sophomore pinch-runner Evan Graham (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill West). Buchter followed with a ground ball to second that was booted, allowing Graham to score an insurance run.

Ulmer went the distance to raise his record to 3-0 and give him 15 career victories. He’s two wins shy of Gar Miller’s career record, set from 1957-60. Ulmer allowed seven hits and three runs (two earned). He struck out three and didn’t walk a batter. The complete game also gave him 183-2/3 in his career. The school record is 205 by Mike Pizzutillo (2000-03).

Chanock, 0-4, worked 7-1/3 innings, allowing eight hits, no walks and four runs (three earned). He struck out three.

The Rutgers University-Camden baseball team scored five unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to break up a scoreless pitchers’ duel and went on to edge Gwynedd-Mercy College, 5-2, in a non-conference game here Tuesday.

The Scarlet Raptors improved to 9-2 with their fourth straight win and eighth victory in nine outings. Gwynedd-Mercy fell to 6-4.

The Scarlet Raptors’ sophomore Jason Ronca (Eastampton, NJ/Rancocas Valley) and the Griffins’ freshman Kevin Dronson were locked in a scoreless battle of right-handers until the Scarlet Raptors took advantage of a couple of costly Gwynedd-Mercy errors in the seventh inning.

With two outs, Rutgers-Camden sophomore DH Butch Amato (Haddon Heights, NJ/Paul VI) ripped a single to left-center, only the third hit off of Dronson. The first two hits were by junior third baseman Brian Jakubowski (Audubon, NJ/Audubon), singles in the first and fourth innings.

Following Amato’s hit, Dronson appeared to be out of the inning, but senior catcher Dustin Roach (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) reached on an infield error. Junior right fielder Nick Turekian (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill East) followed with a run-scoring single to center, then Buchter singled home another run.

A third run scored on another infield error on a ball hit by Inkster. After Jakubowski drew a walk to chase Dronson, junior first baseman Matt Calloway (Blackwood, NJ/Highland) greeted reliever Joe Harris with a two-run single.

Dronson, 0-1, finished his day working 6-2/3 innings, allowing five hits, three walks and the five unearned runs. He struck out five.

Gwynedd-Mercy, meanwhile, couldn’t mount any offense off Ronca until the eighth inning. Ronca hurled no-hit ball for 6-1/3 innings until junior first baseman Ryan McMahon collected a single. The only other hits off Ronca came in the Griffins’ two-run eighth inning, following a leadoff walk to sophomore catcher J.B. Meadows. After a passed ball, sophomore right fielder Anthony Capella poked a run-scoring single and stole second. He scored on a two-out double by junior shortstop Troy Peiffer.

Peiffer’s double ended the day for Ronca, who went 7-2/3 innings of three-hit ball, allowing five walks and two earned runs. He struck out nine in raising his record to 2-0.

Senior righty Matt Novella (Lindenwold, NJ/Overbrook Regional), the program’s all-time leader in games pitched, entered the contest for his 50th pitching appearance and retired the last batter on a line drive to third base. He worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his sixth career save, one shy of the program mark set by Dan McKenna from 2002-03. It was Novella’s second save of the season.

Wed., Mar. 23 McDaniel College (doubleheader) ppd. to March 31

Tues., Mar. 29 Ursinus College (doubleheader) 5:30 p.m.
Thur.., Mar. 31 McDaniel College (doubleheader) 5:30 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 2 Ramapo College (doubleheader) 1 p.m.
Wed., Apr. 6 Cabrini College (doubleheader) 5:30 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 9 at Rutgers University-Newark (doubleheader) 1 p.m.
Tues., Apr. 12 Richard Stockton College (doubleheader) 3 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 16 Kean University (doubleheader) 1 p.m.
Tues., Apr. 19 Rowan University (doubleheader) 3 p.m.

The way the Rutgers-Camden softball team is playing these days, the weather may be the only thing that can stop the Lady Raptors’ success. Rutgers-Camden, which has won 10 straight games to improve to 13-1, saw its only scheduled games of the week postponed as a doubleheader against McDaniel College was rained out. It has been rescheduled for Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

The Raptors still managed to make news off the field, however, as they received a pair of New Jersey Athletic Conference weekly honors for the second week in a row. Junior pitcher Michelle Schlichtig (Barrington, NJ/Haddon Heights) was named the NJAC Pitcher of the Week for the second consecutive week and freshman second baseman/outfielder Jayme Feriod (Glassboro, NJ/Glassboro) earned NJAC Rookie of the Week honors March 21. The honors were based on games played from March 14-20.

Schlichtig also earned ECAC Metro Division III Pitcher of the Week honors on March 22.

Schlichtig, who started the season with three consecutive shutouts to earn her first NJAC Pitcher of the Week honor, had a phenomenal week in Florida for the 13-1 Lady Raptors. She went 6-0, added a save and had a no-hitter in her last game against Division II Molloy College. In 37.2 innings in Florida, Schlichtig allowed 18 hits, four runs (only three earned) and 10 walks, while striking out 51.

Schlichtig also had a sensational week with the bat, hitting .500 (13-for-26) with 17 RBIs, eight runs scored, three doubles, one triple and four home runs. One of the homers was a grand slam against Div. II Ohio Valley College.

Feriod caught fire in Florida after starting her collegiate career 0-for-10. She had 10 hits in her next 16 at bats (.625) and hit .588 overall during the week (10-for-17, with the first at bat being the last of her hitless streak). She scored nine runs in eight Florida games, while adding three RBIs and four walks. She was successful in all three of her stolen base attempts and had a perfect fielding percentage (six putouts and four assists for 10 total chances).


Sat., April 2 at Danny Curran Invitational (Widener University) 10 a.m.
Sat., April 9 at Messiah College Invitational 9 a.m.
Sat., April 16 at Grizzly Invitational (Ursinus College) 10 a.m.

The Rutgers-Camden track team took a handful of its athletes to open the season at the Quaker Invitational at the University of Pennsylvania March 26. The meet featured schools from Divisions I, II and III, but had no team scoring.

Competing for the Lady Raptors were seniors Joelle Diener (Rickenbach, Switzerland/Kantonsschule Olten), Tiffany Logan (Turnersville, NJ/Washington Township) and Sarah Roberts (Pittsgrove, NJ/Schalick). Running for the men were seniors Taiwan Lamb (Atlantic City, NJ/Atlantic City) and Matthew Weng (Lakehurst, NJ/Shawnee), junior Chris McGowan (Barrington, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) and sophomore Yaw Karikari (Iselin, NJ/Elmwood Park Memorial).

On the women’s side, Diener finished 30th out of 35 runners in the 1,500-meter race, posting a time of 5:20.34. Roberts was 15th of 16 at 5,000 meters (21:49.42), while Logan was seventh of nine in the 100-meter high hurdles (17.11).

For the men, Lamb and Karikari each competed in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Lamb (11.97) was seventh and Karikari (12.12) ninth out of 12 runners in the 100, while Lamb (24.23) was 13th and Karikari (24.28) 14th of 20 competitors at 200 meters.

McGowan finished last of the 27 competitors at 400 meters in a time of 58.29, while Weng was fourth of four athletes in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles (1:01.13).

The full Rutgers-Camden track team makes its debut April 2 at the Danny Curran Invitational at Widener University.


Sat., March 26 at Murphy Cup Regatta (Philadelphia, PA)

Event: Women’s Frosh/Novice Eight
Rutgers-Camden 5th in heat (8:07.18)

April 16-17 at Knecht Cup Regatta, Pennsauken, NJ

The Rutgers-Camden women’s crew team opened its spring sprint season competing in the Women’s Frosh/Novice Eight race at the Murphy Cup Regatta on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia March 26. The Lady Raptors finished fifth of five boats in their heat, posting a time of 8:07.18.

Members of the Rutgers-Camden boat included sophomore coxswain Renee Martin (Mays Landing, NJ/Oakcrest), freshman stroke seat Monica Fleming (Collingswood, NJ/Collingswood), sophomore 7 seat Stephanie Jones (Swedesboro, NJ/Kingsway Regional), freshman 6 seat Laura Williams (Cherry Hill, NJ/Dunkin Ed, PA), freshman 5 seat Traci Arnold (Pitman, NJ/Pitman), sophomore 4 seat Cynthia Burt (Woodbury, NJ/West Deptford), junior 3 seat Mary Kate Pasquarello (Blackwood, NJ/Triton Regional), freshman 2 seat Holly Shelly (Erial, NJ/Timber Creek) and sophomore bow seat Jen Culligan (Willingboro, NJ/Holy Cross).

The Rutgers-Camden men’s club team also competed at the event, posting a time of 8:45.17 to finish fifth of five boats in its Men’s Frosh/Novice Four heat. Members of that team included Sean Kendall (Haddon Twp., NJ/Haddon Twp.), Lance Carsillo (Pennsauken, NJ/Pennsauken), George Hall (Williamstown, NJ/Delsea Regional), Colin Oswald (Williamstown, NJ/Williamstown) and coxswain B.J. Ochal (Cherry Hill, NJ/Camden Catholic).

The crew team returns to action April 16-17 at the Knecht Cup Regatta along the Cooper River in Pennsauken.


Rutgers University-Camden junior center Megan Rulon (Sewell, NJ/Clearview Regional) was officially named the national leader in blocked shots per game when the final NCAA Division III statistics were released March 24.

Rulon, who finished with 93 blocks for the season, averaged 4.2 blocks in her 22 games, easily out-pacing runnerup Autumn Lee-Jeffries of Hilbert College, who finished second at 3.8 per game.

Rulon’s 93 blocks were the fourth-highest single-season mark in program history. She has 211 blocks for her career, second in school history to the 291 by Kamilah Byrd from 1993-97.

Rulon also finished her junior year with 869 career points (14th in program history and two behind Erin James for 13th place) and 569 career rebounds (seventh, 60 behind Michelle Riley for sixth place).

Rulon became the third Division III national leader from Rutgers-Camden in the last four school years. The Lady Raptors’ softball program produced the other two leaders, including the nation’s individual ERA champion in 2002 when Sarah O’Malley (Westmont, NJ/Camden Catholic) posted a 0.47 mark. Last spring, meanwhile, the Lady Raptors were the national leader in team ERA as Schlichtig and Becky Johnson (Bridgeton, NJ/Cumberland Regional) combined to post a 0.59 ERA.

In addition to those accomplishments, the softball team’s Beth Laputka (Berlin, NJ/Overbrook) finished her career last season as the NCAA Division III all-time career leader in stolen base percentage. She was successful on 55 of her 56 steals from 2002-2004 for a .982 percentage.

Rulon wasn’t the only Lady Raptor to finish among the NCAA basketball leaders over the winter. Freshman guard Imani Hafiz (Franklinville, NJ/Delsea Regional) collected 64 steals in her 20 games to finish with a 3.2 steals per game average, tying Skidmore’s Lisa Mason for 41st among all Division III players in that category. The national leader was Latrese McNair of New Jersey City University, who averaged 5.4 steals per game.


Senior guard Tyrone Rucker (Pennsauken, NJ/Pennsauken) capped his Rutgers University-Camden career with 14 points to help the New Jersey Athletic Conference outlast the City University of New York Athletic Conference, 124-115, in the fifth annual CUNY-NJAC Senior All-Star Challenge March 23 in Newark.

Ramapo’s Amin Wright was named the team MVP with a game-high 24 points for the NJAC, which owns a 4-1 record and four straight wins in the series which started in 2001. Derick Grant, from The College of New Jersey, added 21 points for the NJAC stars.

Shacun Malave from New York City Tech was named the CUNYAC’s MVP, collecting 17 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Staten Island’s Mike Stewart had a team-high 18 points in the losing cause.

Rucker, who finished third on the NJAC all-stars in scoring, went 6-for-13 from the floor, including 2-for-6 from three-point range. He added three rebounds, one assist and two steals in 16 minutes of playing time.

Rutgers-Camden also was represented by senior guard Paul Smith (Vineland, NJ/Vineland), who played seven minutes, scoring four points. He added two rebounds and one assist.



Fri., April 1 at Moravian College Invitational 12:30 p.m.
(Southmoore Golf Course, Bath, PA)

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