Rowan softball splits with Kean, sweeps TCNJ

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Rowan softball has shown both sides of its team recently.

They displayed the deficiency of carrying a youth-heavy roster in their opening game against Kean University, then showcased the potency they have coursing through their lineup in their next series against The College of New Jersey.

“I want to stop saying we’re not playing up to our full potential eventually,” said head coach Kim Wilson. “I’m hoping we turn the corner and do a better job, but we’re young.”

In the front end of their doubleheader at Kean over the weekend, the team struggled in the field and accrued six errors behind freshman pitcher Jesse DeDomenico. It was an uncommon sight for the Profs, who tend to be a sound defensive team.

“I can’t remember a time where we had six errors in one game,” Wilson said.

But it wasn’t just in the field where the Profs struggled in their series split against the Cougars. At the plate, the brown and gold couldn’t find a way to produce runs. Rowan only had one hit less than Kean—eight and nine, respectively—in the opener but was unable to get the key hits.

The Profs knocked in just four runs during the series, and three of them came in one inning of play.

“That’s what we’re trying to work on,” said senior first baseman Damariz Mercado. “We’re having trouble producing runs with runners in scoring position, and just timely hitting. We hit the ball just not when we need the hits the most.”

Rowan is sitting middle of the pack in the New Jersey Athletic Conference in team average with RBI opportunities with a .316 average. In five of their last seven games, the Profs have scored just three runs or fewer, bringing them to a 25-3 overall record with a 6-2 NJAC clip.

Even during this stretch of offensively-challenged softball, they’ve managed to continue to grind out wins and have even moved up in the national rankings, currently sitting at No. 5 in Division III.

“We’re getting our experience and we are still winning ball games, and I think that’s the championship mentality we have,” Wilson said.

That championship mentality shone through in their NJAC Championship rematch with TCNJ on Tuesday. In last year’s title game, Rowan tamed the Lions in an 11-0 rout. The brown and gold would almost mirror that score in the second game of their doubleheader where they regained their fire power and knocked in 12 runs to TCNJ’s one. The five-inning, blowout win followed a 3-1 victory in the opening game. 

The inexperience that reigns over the Profs’ roster has proven to give them either a sound outing or one full of mistakes and missed opportunities. 

Whichever team they are at any given point isn’t a concern yet for the Profs, though, Mercado says.

“We’re that type of team that’s going to keep growing through NJAC’s and NCAA’s, so I’m not concerned. We’re learning,” the senior said. “Most of these kids haven’t played through NJAC competition, so they don’t know that everybody loves to play Rowan, everybody plays up to us. I’m trying to drill that into their heads and get them prepared.”

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