The Rowan baseball team flew into Florida two weeks ago on the back of a two-game win streak, and they came into the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational swinging.
But after winning their first two games against Bridgewater College (VA) and Clarkson University in convincing fashion, the team dropped six of its remaining eight games.
Just when it seemed the new Profs players were settling into their roles, the team’s consistency issues re-emerged. Head coach Mike Dickson said the team learned a lot from the experience, and he realized quickly that changes needed to be made.
“We were very inconsistent on the trip,” Dickson said. “So, we have almost flipped around our pitching staff, where a lot of our bullpen guys have become our starters. We needed to get some consistent starts on the mound because we were constantly working from behind.”
The formula is simple for the brown and gold: when they hit the ball well, they win games. Four of the Profs’ nine losses have come in one-run contests. Dickson said he has emphasized to his team, since returning from Florida, that they are not necessarily a club that has to “hit the ball out of the park.”
“We have to keep pressure by hitting and running, stealing bases, bunting, making ground ball outs, keeping the ball out of the air,” Dickson said. “And they’re some of the things that we maybe did not do as well in Florida that we really have to work on as we get back on track.”
Senior catcher and captain Greg Myers said there were times when the team was hitting the ball well, but they could not get everything working at once.
“We weren’t putting complete games together,” Myers said. “If our pitchers were struggling, our hitters hit; if our hitters were struggling, our pitchers pitched and we couldn’t just do both right at the same time.”
“Sometimes when you get down there, and you’re playing so many games each day it’s tough to have time to make adjustments,” Dickson said.
Since returning home, Rowan has had time to work on the issues that have plagued them. In a 13-3 victory over Neumann University on Tuesday, the team had four stolen bases and three successful bunt attempts, including a bunt base hit and a safety squeeze.
The following day, the Profs used the middle innings to come back against Haverford College and escape with a 7-4 road win. Rowan tallied two runs in the third and three over the fifth and sixth innings after trailing 4-0 early.
Senior second baseman Evan Hughes said that once the hits start coming, the team cannot let up.
“You can always come back from one run but you can’t always come back from four,” Hughes said. “So when you get it going like that, you have to keep it rolling and keep the momentum on your side.”
The winning pitcher in the Neumann game was sophomore right-hander Sam Nocito, who began the season in the bullpen. He is a perfect example that the Profs have the talent to win games; they just have to make sure everyone is lined up in the correct spot.
Dickson knows, and has been working on that for weeks.
“I think the one thing we do have is depth,” he said. “We’re just trying to find the lineup that’s going to consistently work that I can put out there every day.”
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