Rowan baseball is coming off an impressive week in which they went 4-0 in a stretch of three days. The team played New Jersey City University (NJCU) on Thursday and Friday, winning those games 13-3 and 15-0, respectively. They followed this up with a sweep of Rutgers University – Newark Campus in a doubleheader on Saturday, winning those games 14-11 and 9-1.
It was seniors Alex Kokos and Donald Zellman whose performances helped the Profs go undefeated last week. For Kokos, one of the team’s co-captains, he achieved an important milestone in his career by recording his 200th career hit as a Prof on Saturday. Kokos came into the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader with 197 hits, and went 4-5 on his way to hitting the 200 mark.
It was an exciting moment and one Kokos had been aware of coming into the game.
“It was definitely exciting. I definitely try not to look too deep into the numbers, because then you get really distracted during the games, but it was definitely in the back of my mind, for sure. I was just ecstatic to get that accomplishment. It definitely means a lot to me,” Kokos said.
The milestone puts Kokos in an exclusive club and it’s quite the achievement, according to coach Mike Dickson.
“I think it’s a tremendous accomplishment for Alex. I think he’s maybe the fourth or fifth player with 200 hits in Rowan’s history, so to be in that group is a special accomplishment for him,” Dickson said.
Kokos went 10-17 throughout the four games and also recorded 8 RBIs. The performances were enough to win Kokos his first New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Player of the Week honor this season. Kokos said that it was rewarding to see the extra preparation he’s been putting in pay off in the form of the Player of the Week award.
“It feels good. I know I put a couple of good swings in this weekend and me and a couple of my teammates have been putting in some extra work at the field, so it’s nice to see that pay off,” Kokos said.
Zellman, a pitcher, also hit an impressive milestone, throwing his first complete game for Rowan in their second game against Rutgers-Newark, in what was one of the most dominant pitching performances of the season on the team. Zellman allowed only two hits in nine innings along with no earned runs and also struck out 12 batters, the most from any Rowan pitcher in a single game this season. And similarly to Kokos, Zellman said it felt great to see his hard work pay off.
“It felt great to throw a complete game,” Zellman said. “I have been working hard and to see the results is very rewarding.”
Dickson said there were discussions about how long they would let Zellman pitch, but his performance made the decision an easy one as the game continued.
“In the fifth or sixth, he was right around 60 pitches and we were in the dugout, we had talked about whether or not stamina-wise he would be able to carry on, because we’ve been building his pitch count up and he just hasn’t been extended that far. But he continued to get stronger as the game went on,” Dickson said.
As the second half of the season gets underway for the team, Zellman said that he wants a NJAC championship and does not want to settle for less.
“To be honest, I want a NJAC conference title, and more. I want to win for this team, myself and this coaching staff. I plan on helping the team win no matter what it takes,” he said. “The coaches, seniors, freshmen, transfers and players who have been here longer than me have all worked too hard for me to not give it my all.”
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