Team USA lost the Gold Medal game in baseball to Japan on Saturday by the final score of 2-0. Despite the loss to the host country, history was made from a Rutgers perspective.
Todd Frazier, Patrick Kivlehan and Darren Fenster became the first Rutgers alumni to earn Olympic medals in baseball by bringing home the silver. Frazier started all six games in the middle of the lineup, Kivlehan was a reserve who earned one start and Fenster was the third base coach under manager Mike Scioscia.
Frazier had just three hits overall in the tournament but went 2-for-5 with a double and run scored in the first meeting with Japan earlier in the Olympics. The double came off of Frazier’s former teammate with the New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka.
In the semifinals against South Korea, Frazier had a game changing moment in drawing a 12 pitch walk that started the game winning rally for Team USA. He was down early in the at bat with an 0-2 count but battled the entire time before finally wearing down the opposing pitcher.
Frazier was the Big East Player of the Year and a First Team All-American in 2007 when he led Rutgers to tie a program best with 42 wins. He left after that junior season to become the 34th overall pick by the Cincinnati Reds in the MLB Draft. He has played 11 seasons in the majors and was a two-time All-Star who also won the Home Run Derby in 2015.
Kivlehan was a two-sport athlete at Rutgers. He was a four-time letter winner in football before walking on his senior year to the baseball team in 2012. Remarkably, he won the first league triple crown in Big East history, earning Player of the Year honors and was named a Third Team All-American by Baseball America. In his professional career, Kivlehan has played 137 games for three teams at the major league level, including the San Diego Padres this season. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round of the 2012 MLB draft.
Fenster was Big East Player of the Year and a consensus First Team All-American as a senior at Rutgers in 2000. He hit .433 on the first-ever 40-win season in program history for a team that was ranked as high as No. 14 nationally. After being drafted in the 12th round by the Kansas City Royals, Fenster advanced to the Double A level in the Royals system before retiring as a player. He has served in several roles with the Boston Red Sox since 2012 and is currently their minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator.
Rutgers was just one of two schools (North Carolina) with multiple baseball players on the Team USA roster.
Frazier, Kivlehan and Fenster joined Rutgers great Carli Lloyd on the medal stand in the Tokyo Olympics, as she scored twice in the USWNT’s victory over Australia in the bronze medal game. The fifth RU alum at the Olympics, Rudy Winkler, finished 7th overall in the Hammer Throw.