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Three Rutgers baseball players named Preseason All-Conference

Junior infielder Josh Kuroda-Grauer, sophomore right-handed pitcher Christian Coppola and graduate student left-handed pitcher Joey DeChiaro of the Rutgers baseball team were named Preseason All-Conference ahead of the 2024 season. – Photo by Ben Solomon / Rutgers Athletics, lizzardpics /, Tom Gilbert /

The Rutgers baseball team's 2024 season is just a few weeks away, and its players have begun receiving awards. On January 18, Perfect Game announced their preseason honors for players in the Big Ten. 

Junior infielder Josh Kuroda-Grauer, sophomore right-handed pitcher Christian Coppola and graduate student left-handed pitcher Joey DeChiaro were all named Preseason All-Conference.

The honors are the result of exceptional performances from all three players individually last season. Here's a breakdown of how each player did in 2023 and their career performances thus far.


Kuroda-Grauer has been no stranger to awards and honors throughout his career and was named a top draft prospect in the country this past month, checking in as the 86th-best MLB draft prospect.

Kuroda-Grauer had a phenomenal 2023 season, slashing .298, .393 and .487 in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, respectively. He started 56 games at shortstop and finished with a near-perfect fielding percentage of 97.3.

Over the summer, Kuroda-Grauer played with the Bourne Braves, a collegiate summer team out of Bourne, Massachusetts. The Braves won the 2023 Cape Cod Baseball League for the second year in a row, and Kuroda-Grauer was named Playoff MVP. In eight games, Kuroda-Grauer had a .444 batting average, drove in 13 runs and was huge in leading the Braves to their second-straight league title.

Kuroda-Grauer has made a name for himself as one of the best shortstops in college baseball. Finishing as a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award in 2023, an award given to college baseball's top shortstop, Kuroda-Grauer is looking to soar to even higher heights this season and perhaps take home the award this time around.


Coppola is coming off a freshman season, in which he received All-Big Ten Freshman Team and All-Big Ten First Team honors. He was the first freshman in program history to be named All-Big Ten First Team.

Coppola was also a member of the 2023 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, where he received a training camp invite and then went on to make the final 31-man roster and represent Team USA.

Coppola had a dominant first season for the Scarlet Knights, posting a 3.68 earned runs average (ERA), which led all Big Ten pitchers in 2023. He had 71 strikeouts and gave up 61 hits. Coppola ended the season allowing 27 earned runs and a batting average of .240 against him.

In his 13 games played, Coppola went 5-5 as the starting pitcher.


DeChiaro is the only player out of the three that was not on Rutgers' roster last season, playing as a reliever for Old Dominion the past four seasons. He didn't rack up the accolades like Kuroda-Grauer and Coppola, but he had a strong season with a career-high 20 appearances.

DeChiaro registered 22.1 innings for the Monarchs and recorded two saves and a 4.43 ERA. He finished with 22 strikeouts and allowed 22 hits and ten walks.

Over his final seven appearances with Old Dominion, he held opponents to a .262 batting average and allowed just one run.

DeChiaro also competed in the Cape Cod Baseball League this summer, pitching 24.1 innings for the Brewster Whitecaps. He finished with a 4-1 record and a 3.32 ERA. DeChairo recorded 19 strikeouts, seven walks and allowed 14 hits in his ten appearances.

Alongside returning veterans like senior right-handed pitcher Ben Gorski and graduate student right-handed pitcher Jake Marshall, DeChiaro is in line for a great first season on the Banks. He will look to improve a bullpen that collapsed in the 2023 Big Ten Tournament.

These three Preseason All-Conference players are primed for a year of excellence with the Knights. The season will begin February 16 against Winthrop. The game will be the first of a three-game series against the Eagles at the Winthrop Ballpark in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

For more updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow @TargumSports on X.

To view more of Philip Jaccoma's work, follow @PJaccoma on X.

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