Last Friday afternoon, at 3:30 PM on April 28th, the Profs hosted the New Jersey City University Gothic Knights.
New Jersey City University
|J. Stone (L, 0-1)||1.0||2||3||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||5||6||1||2||23|
|Andrew Cohen (W, 4-4)||8.0||5||1||1||1||7||0||0||2||0||28||31||6||10||118|
Coming into the game, the Gothic Knights were an average team — with a win-loss record of 16-16. Both teams play within the Division III New Jersey Athletic Conference. Within the conference, Rowan has the second-best record, at 26-14 (a .650 winning percentage), behind only The College of New Jersey (27-10).
On Friday, it was Rowan’s second and final regular-season meeting against New Jersey City. Prior to Friday’s game, serving as the first game of a home-and-away doubleheader, New Jersey City, the night before, hosted the Profs at the Thomas M. Gerrity AC field (NJC’s home field). New Jersey City won the game 5-4, in a come-from-behind victory.
As for this game, like most recent home games, the weather was perfect, with a forecast of around 80 degrees and partly sunny weather. Christopher Williams was the home-plate umpire, while Anthony Gencarelli served as the first-base umpire. It was Rowan’s 13th conference game.
On the mound, Rowan senior starting pitcher Andrew Cohen got the nod. For the season, he’s now 4-4, with a respectable 2.65 earned-run average, and a strikeouts-per-game average of 10.2. For the day, he pitched eight innings, allowed only one earned run, and struck out seven batters. It was the fourth time this season that he’s pitched seven innings or more in a game.
As for the Gothic Knights, senior pitcher Joe Stone got the nod on the mound by his manager Jerry Smith. Despite starting the game, Stone has been used little in games. So far this season, his season high for innings pitched in a game is three, which occurred at Staten Island on April 10th. His game against Rowan was his first start of the season.
Including this game, out of Rowan’s 38 games this season, they’ve scored at least one run in the first inning on 12 occasions.
Rowan got off to a hot start, shutting down the Gothic Knights in the top of the first, then scoring three runs during the bottom half of the inning, to take an early lead.
In that bottom of the first inning, Rowan batters had a single, a walk, and a three-run home run — all within the top four batters of the lineup.
Within that first inning, on a 0-2 count, Jason Clapper started the game by singling up the middle of the field on a high fastball. Alex Kokos laid off two outside fastballs and a low breaking ball, and drew a walk and advanced Clapper up a base to second.
After designated hitter Shawn Leydon flied out on a 1-2 high fastball, Joe Sadler waited for a better pitch and took another high fastball in, on a 3-1 count, good enough to sail a high home run to left field — off of the foul pole no less. Instantly, a strong 3-0 lead was formed. Despite, after Sadler’s three-run shot, two groundouts to end the inning (by Matt Jolly and catcher Steven Hewa), it was a solid start to the game for Rowan.
Despite having three full-count (3-2) at-bats through his first two innings, starter Andrew Cohen settled down and only had three of them through the rest of his start — his final five innings. As for Stone, in his lone inning he had 23 pitches, 12 of which were for strikes.
Their relievers weren’t much better, too, as, in the remaining eight innings, the five other NJCU pitchers allowed six hits and two walks, despite poor fielding behind their pitchers (they had three errors). In addition to that, five Rowan batters were hit by a pitch.
For the day, NJCU pitchers totaled 146 pitches, which averages out to 4.71 pitches thrown per at-bat. In 31 at-bats, Rowan batters struck out on only four occasions (12.9 percent).
Lead-off batter Jason Clapper started in right field, despite playing in left field for the previous three games. Going 2/4, it was his 14th multi-hit game of the season. In those 14 games, Rowan is 8-6 (.571).
After the game ended, which was at approximately 6:01 PM, I got a chance to speak with both right fielder Jason Clapper and first baseman Joe Sadler. We discussed the team’s game-to-game approach, coach Mike Dickson’s lineup adjustments, and their advice for both 2017 incoming freshman and soon-to-be sophomore players.
Of note, the game was the same day as Joe Sadler’s birthday, to which he alluded to during the interview (the year of his birthday is unknown).
-In Clapper’s 10 games in the lead-off spot, he’s hitting .487 (19/39), with 11 runs, two home runs, two doubles, nine walks, and seven runs batted in. In his previous 28 games, he went 28 for 83, for a .337 batting average.
-After being the team’s lead-off hitter for the first 18 games of the season, freshman infielder Alex Kokos has been the second hitter in the lineup for the past eight games. In the number-two spot, he’s hitting .318 (14-44) . As a lead-off hitter, he’s hit .250 (19/76). In his past five games as a lead-off hitter, he only hit .187 (3/16), which is possibly why coach Mike Dickson moved him down a spot in the lineup.
In the 18 regular season games that he was a lead-off hitter, the team went 13-5 (for a winning percentage of 72.7). Since then, the team’s gone 7-3 (for a winning percentage of 70). For the season, he’s hitting .287.