Baseball Signs Transfers Conover, Modugno, Vargas

PISCATAWAY, NJ (June 22, 2022) – The Rutgers baseball team has added a trio of transfers in RHP John Modugno (Indiana), RHP Drew Conover (Seton Hall) and INF/OF Xavier Vargas (Rhode Island). Modugno and Conover will be juniors with two years of eligibility remaining. Vargas is a graduate student with one year of eligibility.

Drew Conover-Jr.
RHP | 6-5 | 185 | L/R
Pittstown, NJ/Voorhees High School/Seton Hall

Rutgers legacy with powerful arm and the ability to pitch in a number of situations. He was dominant in the second half of 2022 for Seton Hall.

Why Rutgers? “I chose Rutgers because it allowed me the opportunity to play for my home state and go to a strong academic school. Given both my parents went to school at Rutgers and were athletes, I was very familiar with the university. I also chose Rutgers because the coaches prepare us to win and care about player development.”

head coach Steve Owens: “Drew will be a huge addition to our pitching staff for next year. He has three very good swing-and-miss pitches from a unique arm slot. He has shown tremendous improvement and will get great experience in the Cape this summer. He has the size and athleticism to not only be an impact arm in the Big Ten, but also pitch professionally.”

2022 (Sophomore): Pitched in 18 games, making one start … Had a 5.73 ERA in 33.0 innings of work, striking out 43 with 25 walks … Closed out the season with a 0.60 ERA in his final 15.1 innings, striking out 16 with just five walks … had 10 outings of at least two innings … 10 of final 12 appearances were scoreless … struck out a career-high seven batters at Oklahoma State on March 18.

2021 (Freshman): Made five appearances out of the bullpen … Had a strikeout in 1.2 innings and finished the Pirates’ 11-1 win over St. John’s on April 24 … Struck out the side in appearance against Georgetown on May 1.

Before College: Started at North Hunterdon High School before finishing his prep career at Vorhees High School … Struck out 38 batters in 41 innings as a junior in 2018 … Racked up 56 strikeouts in 30.1 innings as a senior … All -State selection in 2020 … Played with Diamond Jacks … Also an all-state football player.

Personal: Son of Kevin Conover and Beth Starr … both parents are former Rutgers athletes … father, Kevin, was left-handed pitcher for baseball team under Fred Hill and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1989 … mother, Beth Starr, ran track and field/cross country … has one brother, Kyle … intends to major in Criminal Justice

John Modugno
John Modugno-Jr.

RHP | 6-6 | 215 | R/R
Upper Saddle River, NJ/Don Bosco Prep/Indiana

New Jersey native with extensive Big Ten experience, pitching 76.0 innings in 34 games (13 starts) across three seasons for Indiana.

Why Rutgers? “The coaching staff really made me feel welcome and this was the best way I could represent New Jersey in the Big Ten.”

head-coach Steve Owens: “John is a very talented player who has two years of experience pitching in meaningful games at the Big Ten conference. He has the physical size, arm strength, experience and maturity to continue his development as a starter. We welcome him to our program and are very excited about the immediate and future impact his addition will have on our success.”

2022 (Sophomore): Pitched in 17 games, making eight starts for the Hoosiers… Struck out 37 batters in 34.1 innings of work.

2021 (Freshman): Big Ten All-Freshman Team … Academic All-Big Ten … Made 16 appearances, with four starts on the mound … Collected three wins … Posted first collegiate victory versus Penn State (3/14) … Led the team in pitching appearances (16) … Owned victories over Penn State (3/14), Iowa (5/1) and Ohio State (5/24) … Did not allow a run of his own in 10-of-16 appearances … Held opponents to two or fewer earned runs in 15 of 16 appearances, including all four starts … Issued one or no walks in 10 appearances.

2020 (Freshman): Appeared in one game … Made collegiate debut in a start at Evansville (3/10).

Before College: Played for head coach Mike Rooney at Don Bosco Prep High School, where he was a four-year letterwinner … Rated the No. 70 prospect in New Jersey and the No. 25 right-handed pitcher in the state … Named team captain and team MVP as a senior … Garnered all-county and all-league as a senior … Also lettered twice in bowling … Finished high school with a 4.20 GPA … Part of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society … Logged 120 hours of community service in high school

Personal: Son of Sandra and Vito Modugno … Has one brother, Andre, and one sister, Carina … Intends to major in biology

Xavier Vargas
Xavier Vargas – Gr.

INF/OF | 6-3 | 205 | L/L
Woodhaven, NY/Xaverian HS/University of Rhode Island

Powerful left-handed batter who led Rhode Island with 11 home runs in 2021 and will have one season of eligibility remaining after missing majority of 2022 with injury.

Why Rutgers? “I chose Rutgers because it is a great academic and athletic school and it’s close to home.”

head-coach Steve Owens: “Xavier has been an excellent hitter for his entire collegiate career. He has a great swing along with a very mature approach. We will look to him to drive in runs and hit for power from the left side.”

2022: Played in eight games before missing the remainder of the season with injury.

2021: Led the team with 52 games played, 51 starts, 11 home runs and 58 RBIs … 20-of-52 hits were for extra bases (11 HR, 8 2B, 1 3B) … scored 32 runs.

2020: Appeared and started all 13 games before the remainder of the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic … collected 15 hits – seven of which were for extra bases (4 HR, 2 3B, 1 2B) … had a .604 slugging percentage … scored 11 runs and drove in 16.

2019: Was the only player on the team to appear and start in all 53 games … finished the year with a .300 batting average, a .406 slugging percentage and a .347 on-base percentage … Had nine doubles, one triple and four home runs … scored 27 runs and recorded a team-best 38 RBIs.

2018: Appeared in 34 games and made 28 starts … batted .245 with 10 extra-base hits (6 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR) … collected 18 RBIs and scored 15 runs … walked 13 times with eight times being hit by pitch and stole two bases.

Before College: Played baseball and basketball for Xaverian High School … member of student government and National Honors Society … recognized as the scholar athlete of the class of 2017 … captained the baseball team for two years … selected as the offensive MVP for the Xaverian baseball team both his junior and senior year … awarded with the Golden Glove his senior year … ABCA / Rawlings High School All-Region team, 2017 … All-State and All-City recognition, 2017 … led team to three titles as the Division Champions in 2015 , 2016 and 2017.

Son of Dionne and Cruz Vargas … has one older brother, Emmanuel … father, Dionne, played baseball at Hunter College … favorite athlete is Albert Pujols … favorite team is the New York Yankees … plans to enroll in the School of Management and Labor Relations.

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