The spring season is not even in full bloom yet, but several freshman are already making a big impact for multiple Rutgers teams. This week three different athletes from three different teams within Rutgers athletics were named Big Ten Freshman of the week in their respective sports. Here is a summary on each honoree, as well as how each team fared this past week.
The Rutgers baseball team opened on the road against a ranked Miami (FL) team and thanks to the relief pitching of freshman Eric Heatter, the Scarlet Knights were victorious in the last of three games this past weekend. In the 7-5 win on Sunday, Heatter made a big statement in his first collegiate action, striking out eight batters in four innings of work out of the bullpen. For a full recap of all three games that Rutgers baseball played so far, click here. His efforts not only were a big reason for the victory, but he was recognized by the Big Ten for his sterling debut on the mound for Rutgers.
Eric Heatter of @RutgersBaseball is the #B1GBaseball Freshman of the Week after earning a win in relief in his collegiate debut by pitching four scoreless innings with eight strikeouts to lead the Scarlet Knights to a 7-5 win at No. 24 Miami on Sunday pic.twitter.com/HPnVTNsUdr— Big Ten Baseball (@B1Gbaseball) February 19, 2018
Despite a disappointing loss for the Rutgers men’s lacrosse team, who fell to Army 9-7 at West Point on Saturday, freshman Tommy Coyne had the best game of his young career. With Rutgers trailing 5-1 in the first half, Coyne delivered a hat trick by scoring three goals in a ridiculously short time span of 1 minute and 14 seconds. It helped put the score even at 5 at the half. For a team that needs more offense to truly go far this season, Coyne’s eruption was a promising sign for head coach Brian Brecht’s squad.
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team improved to 2-1 on the season with a dominant 19-8 victory over Monmouth this past Saturday. While sophomore midfielder Samantha Budd led the way with six goals and junior attack Abbey Brooks added a hat trick, freshman Taralyn Naslonski delivered one goal and one assist in the win. This came just four days after she recorded a hat trick of her own in a 15-4 win over LIU_Brooklyn. Her performance overall between both games led to the Big Ten honoring her as Freshman of the Week.
In addition, junior Regina Sharp was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for combining for forcing five turnovers and scooping up nine groundballs in both victories.
The spring season is just getting underway, but newcomers on both lacrosse teams and baseball squad have already made early positive impressions. While hopes are high for men’s lacrosse and winning seasons are the goal for both women’s lacrosse and baseball, it’s a great sign to see such young players making an impact early on in their college careers. The future continues to look bright for Rutgers athletics as a whole and adding talent to these teams is certainly a great sign.