Rutgers’ receiving corps as a whole is having an easier time. Ash has praised the group several times since spring practice began for what he says has been a turnaround showing under new receivers coach Lester Erb, who moved over from the running backs room after former position coach Jafar Williams left to become Maryland’s running backs coach.
It’s probably one of the pleasant surprises of spring training, the wide receiver group. They’ve worked hard, they’ve improved fundamentally, they’ve improved their football IQ. Fewer mistakes, more plays being made, Ash said. The chemistry in the room is great, the relationship with their coach is great. I’m really pleased with that room.
It’s a room that has little, but some, experience under its belt – Hunter Hayek and Melton played as freshmen, Shameen Jones redshirted and Eddie Lewis is an early enrollee after a prep year – and no real production to boast of.
While Rutgers returns its leading receiver, that is currently-sidelined tight end Jerome Washington (28 catches for 282 yards and a touchdown). Hayek has the most returning catches with eight, and Melton has the most returning receiving yards in the room. So a big leap from the group, and from Melton, is a necessity if the Scarlet Knights’ offense is going to get out of the Big Ten basement.
We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re probably making more plays in the spring than what we’ve made in the previous two years, Ash said. Progress is being made.
Despite losing their first eight openers in the 1960s, the Mets have baseball’s best record on opening day at 37-20. They’ve won 22 of their last 25 season openers at home.
New York got hitless relief from Robert Gsellman, newcomer Anthony Swarzak and closer Jeurys Familia to win an opener played only hours after the death of former Mets star Rusty Staub.
Todd Frazier, also making his Mets debut, drew a one-out walk from Martinez (0-1) in the fifth and scored from first on Gonzalez’s double into the right-field corner for a 4-3 lead.
Syndergaard, who threw his first three pitches 99 mph, helped himself with a sacrifice bunt, and young shortstop Amed Rosario — batting ninth behind the pitcher — delivered a two-run single.
Cespedes, who had a two-run single in the second, chased Martinez with an RBI single, and the two-time All-Star pitcher went wild once he got to the bench, knocking over a bucket of bubble gum.
Jay Bruce, back after the Mets traded him to Cleveland last August, added an RBI single off Matt Bowman to cap a five-run outburst.