June 26, 2008
BY David Driver
For the Stafford County Sun, used with permission
Ed Rubbo of Stafford had just 18 RBIs this past season for Bucknell University, but two of them came at just the right time.
The Colonial Forge High School graduate knocked in the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth May 17 as Bucknell beat Navy 8-7 to win the Patriot League title. The win gave Bucknell an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional tournament.
“That was a tough series but we managed to come back,” said senior third baseman Rubbo, who drove in another run earlier in the game. “I had the opportunity to make that last hit. That is something I will always remember.”
The hit drove in former roommate Jason Buursma, who recently began his pro career in the minor league system of the St. Louis Cardinals.
But there were even more memories for Rubbo and the Bison following the victory against Navy.
The win sent Bucknell to an NCAA regional at the home of Florida State, a nationally-ranked program from the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference. Rubbo said Bucknell facing Florida State in baseball is like a No. 16 seed meeting a No. 1 seed in March Madness.
“It is a Major League team with aluminum bats,” Rubbo said of Florida State.
But the Bison shocked the college baseball world with a 7-0 win against the Seminoles on their home field in the first game of the regional May 30. It was the first time in seven games Bucknell won an NCAA regional game.
“It was one of those moments you will always remember,” Rubbo said. “It was amazing. It was awesome to shut them out. Their fans gave us a standing ovation after the game.”
Bucknell then lost 4-1 to Tulane and was smashed 24-9 by the same Florida State team and was knocked out of the double-elimination event in Florida. The Seminoles advanced to the College World Series before being eliminated by Miami.
That second game against Florida State ended the college career of Rubbo, who hit .239 this season in 46 games with 44 starts. In 142 at bats he had five doubles and a triple as Bucknell was 30-24-2 overall.
“Eddie had a real solid career for us,” Bucknell head coach Gene Depew, who just finished his 27th season at his alma mater. “He was a mainstay in the lineup for the last two years. Ed is a guy who likes to play and has a good work ethic. He was a real solid defensive player for us on the corner. He made some really good plays for us in critical situations. He was a guy we knew we could count on. He had some very timely hits.”
Rubbo, the son of Daniel and Lily Rubbo of Stafford, was named to the Patriot League academic honor roll throughout his Bucknell career. He graduated this spring with a degree in accounting and has dreams of one day working on Wall Street.
Rubbo considered Appalachian State in North Carolina and other Patriot League schools after his career at Colonial Forge. But he was impressed with the balance of athletics and academics at Bucknell, located in Lewisburg, Pa. and the alma mater of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson.
Bucknell has one of the highest graduation rates among athletes at the Division I level in the country. Rubbo gives a lot of credit to Depew.
“He definitely believed in academics. That is something I give him a lot of respect for,” Rubbo said. “A lot of players at some Division I programs aren’t focused on academics. Depew allows us to balance it out. That is why I choose Bucknell.”
Rubbo is currently job hunting while playing with an adult team based in Fredericksburg coached by Ernie Baker, his former assistant at Colonial Forge.
He has fond memories of his career at Bucknell and his hit that put the Bison in the NCAA regional for the first time in his career.
“It gave us the opportunity to make history,” Rubbo said.