September 23, 2019 | 90° F

Litterio announces two new pitchers, recruits

Last season there was only one certainty with the Rutgers baseball team’s pitching staff: then-sophomore left hander Howie Brey was going to make an impact on the mound.

After Brey became the ace, the rest of the pitching rotation and staff was unknown, according to head coach Joe Litterio.

But with the emergence of then-freshman right hander Gaby Rosa, the Scarlet Knights formed a formidable one-two punch in the weekend rotation.

With redshirt freshman right hander Kyle Driscoll finishing the platoon on the weekend and redshirt freshman Max Herrmann as the key guy out of the bullpen, Litterio felt he needed more.

And Litterio did just that.

The second-year head coach announced yesterday the addition of two pitchers to go along with the 2015 incoming baseball crop of players — Wake Forest junior transfer Mark McCoy and incoming freshman James Torres.

Litterio feels McCoy can hop right into the mix and compete for a spot in the weekend rotation.

“I won’t know too much until I get them on the mound and have them throw for us,” Litterio said. “But I’m hoping that McCoy can step right in and be a weekend guy for us. I followed him through high school, recruited him out of high school and I know his parents are Rutgers people.”

Torres, who officially committed, joins eight other recruits set to compete in the spring. The Bloomfield, New Jersey, native joins fellow Bloomfield High School product, sophomore Mike Carter on the roster.

Torres also marks the fourth pitcher in the class, something that Litterio felt the team needed to spell Herrmann from increased innings.

Herrmann pitched to a 3-0 record in 22 appearances with four saves. Herrmann pitched 42 innings, striking out 30 batters and pitching to a 2.57 earned run average and .247 batting average against.

The young pitchers added will give the depth to the staff and ultimately change the approach to using Herrmann and the other pitchers.

“We’re adding a lot of depth to our ‘pen,” Litterio said. “Figuring it out last year, Max Herrmann was our go-to guy and we used him an awful lot. We didn’t overuse him, but I think we limited his innings. It will be nice to watch Max go out there and throw three or four innings at a time and give him a few days’ rest. We have a few guys from this freshman class that will help us extend max a little bit.”

When drawing comparison for Torres, it was difficult for Litterio not to compare him to Rosa.

His pitching style and the way he throws his pitches remind Litterio of the Perth Amboy, New Jersey, native.

“James Torres is a high-energy guy,” Litterio said. “He’s similar to Rosa where he can come on the mound, throw in the upper 80s and is a strike thrower. I think he will be used upon as a relief guy, early on in the year and see if he can get it done for us there.”

McCoy, however, reminds Litterio of Herrmann.

Although McCoy is a lefty like Brey, the two could not be any more different, Litterio said.

But the new transfer offers something for Brey.

“I think McCoy is a little bit like Max Herrmann. He’s a hard-throwing lefty with a good slider and good changeup,” Litterio said. “He throws harder than Howie. But, Howie and Mark will complement each other. You have a hard thrower and a guy with good command and a good curveball.”

McCoy decided to go to Wake Forest after turning down an offer to play professionally after being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 26th round of the Major League Baseball draft.

For Litterio, McCoy is someone who he finally landed after recruiting him previously while he was the head coach at Wagner.

“I was at Wagner at that time when I recruited McCoy, and I knew it was a stretch for us at Wagner, but I know the family and I gave it a shot anyway,” Litterio said. “They had a financial situation that happened, and luckily enough for us the tuition at Rutgers is cheaper and he could afford and come back to where he belongs.”

For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow @TylerKaralewich and @TargumSports on Twitter.

Tyler Karalewich

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