Amidst the rubble and debris leftover from the latest tornado that flew around the Rutgers athletics department recently regardingÂ she who will not be named, baseball'sÂ Gaby Rosa and softball'sÂ Jackie Bates were each named to the baseball and softball AAC Weekly Honor Roll for their performances last week.
After suffering hisÂ first loss of the season (and, perhaps, one of his worst performances of his life on the mound, because he's always been that good) last week to then-No. 10 Houston, Rosa bounced back with a stellar performance on Saturday at Bainton Field in a 4-1 win over Hartford. The freshman righty was in a groove all day long, logging eight innings for the second time this season, allowing one run (unearned) and striking out a career-high six batters in a two-hitter to guide the Scarlet Knights.
Rosa improved to 3-2 and lowered his ERA to 3.35 on the season. Following a start in which he was roughed up for 10 hits -- including a three-run home run down the left field line with one out in the fifth that sealed his fate -- his response to the face of adversity shows that he learned from it. The kid has four years on the banks, and if you're head coach Joe Litterio or any Rutgers fan, that has to be good sign for a pitcher with ace potential.
Bates, on the other hand, was also named to the AAC Weekly Honor Roll for the second week in a row.
The junior center fielder is tearing the cover off the ball as of late on the softball diamond, going 8-for-17 with a home run and two RBI -- not to mention she has a seven-game hitting streak going for her.
What's most impressive is how she's been a constant in an inconsistent lineup. When two-hitter Chandler Howard went 0-for-14 in a recent drought, Bates continued to rake at the plate. Normally, Howard and senior right fielder Loren Williams mainly provide protection for the team's three-hitter and set her up to knock in some runs.
But when the two in front of her have cooled down, Bates has picked it up. Her continued success at the plate propelled her to the top of the list in batting for the AAC, leading the conference with a .421 average going into today's game at Monmouth. Her .682 slugging percentage, 13 doubles, and 30 RBI show her efforts to do everything she can to aid a Rutgers lineup that leftÂ 10 runners on base in its last game at Temple.
So lighten up, Scarlet Nation. Deep within the pessimism stirred up in the past couple of weeks, there are things going on in the athletics department at Rutgers that are reasons to be optimistic.