Baseball wins 10 of 11, ranks among nation’s top teams

Outfielder Eric Perez hold the ball up after making a catch in a 4-3 win over Montclair State on April 19. Rowan sits atop the NJAC standings with four games remaining. -Staff photo/Louis Gormley

Outfielder Eric Perez hold the ball up after making a catch in a 4-3 win over Montclair State on April 19. Rowan sits atop the NJAC standings with four games remaining. -Staff photo/Louis Gormley

 

In a season filled with impressive numbers, the Rowan baseball team has taken its offense to a new level.

The Profs scored 66 runs in seven games this past week, good for an average of nearly 10 runs per contest. Overall, the Profs are winners of 10 of their previous 11, and now stand with a record of 25-7 including 10-4 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

“We just try and drive it the other way and just try and be aggressive in the counts,” outfielder Scott Bruno said of the team’s recent offensive prowess. “I think for the recent games where we have been getting double-digit hits and runs, that’s been the main factor.”

Rowan currently sits in a three-way tie for first place in the NJAC alongside Kean and Rutgers-Camden. The Profs are also considered among the top teams in the nation, according to D3baseball.com and the American Baseball Coaches Association.

They rank 11th in the D3baseball.com poll, while they are 15th for the ABCA.

“Those rankings are nice and all,” pitcher Ryan Easterday said. “But our biggest goal is to get the number-one seed and I think we have a chance to go far and I think if we stay hungry we can do something special.”

The Profs started off their recent hot stretch with a commanding 15-1 win over Neumann University on April 16. Infielder Ryan Williams led the offense, going 4-for-6 with five RBI and a run scored. Pitcher Johnny Dunn got his first win of the season as he threw eight scoreless innings while allowing just three hits.

Rowan followed that lopsided victory with dominating wins over New Jersey City on April 17 and 18. In the first game, the Profs rolled to a 16-1 win despite trailing 1-0 early in the contest. In the second game of the series, the Profs took down the Gothic Knights 5-1.

Despite heading into a weekend doubleheader against rival Montclair State on a significant high on April 19, the Profs fell in the first game 6-3 in 12 innings. They would later bounce back in the second game  behind a solid pitching performance from Ryan Sharkey, as Rowan edged out the Red Hawks 4-3.

“The kid that threw for Montclair in the first game — Dylan Papa — pitches against us every year and there is something about him that we haven’t figured out,” Bruno said of Rowan’s loss in game 1. “But in the second game, we stood tough and that’s the difference between good teams and great teams. Great teams, after a loss, they come out, come back and win, so I think that really helped us.”

On April 21, the Profs got back to their offensive ways against Gwynedd Mercy University, as Rowan busted out to a 17-4 win. Outfielder Ryan Pavlik paced the Profs going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs. A day later, the team downed Widener University, 6-5.

Rowan will now move on to face TCNJ today and Friday, before hosting Kean for a crucial doubleheader on April 26. The Profs will close out the regular season a week from today, with a home game against York College on May 8.

“We’re getting on a roll as a team and that’s what you want to do at the end of the year,” Easterday said. “We want to just keep going. We have goals that we need to meet that we set at the beginning of the year and I think we’re just playing good baseball at the right time right now.”

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