Jack of All Trades: Rogers Embracing Role as Two-Way Player

Photographer: Hannah Trojan

On Tuesday he is toeing the rubber as the starting pitcher at Disch-Falk Field in Austin as the Bearkats face a tough road test against the University of Texas Longhorns.

Rogers, a two-way star during his days at Klein Collins High School, went 12-1 with a 1.09 ERA while hitting .375 with five homeruns during his senior year. However, he made only a pair of appearances on the mound during his first two seasons with SHSU.

His first outing in 2020 was dominant, pitching a perfect ninth inning Feb. 21 when he struck out the side in order to cap off a 14-6 win over Loyola Marymount.

“Sirianni has always liked me as a pitcher,” Rogers said about getting more opportunities on the mound this season. “I just never got the time to really go out there and practice my craft with the pitchers. He told me this year he really wanted me to start working on it with him becoming head coach.”

“It’s fun for me to go out there and throw strikes because I know I have the stuff.”

Adding pitching into his repertoire will only help him continue to stand out. Rogers already opened eyes with a preseason All-Southland Conference second team ranking after a successful sophomore campaign when he hit .304 with eight homeruns and 20 doubles.

“It’s awesome,” Rogers said about the preseason recognition. “Last year I wasn’t at my best I think, but I was able to help the team as much as possible. This year I’m kind of one of the leaders on this team. On the offensive side of things, I’m trying to execute as much as possible and just put the ball in play in order to get our team a win.”

Rogers is one of those true hitters that connects for contact and power while using the whole field. Through the first six games in 2020, he is slugging .875 with six extra base hits and 10 RBIs.

“My whole swing has always been based off of power,” Rogers said. “But I’ve been really trying to focus on putting the ball in play more. I think if I am able to do that then I’d be able to give my team more opportunities to put me in the lineup and do things in order for us to have success.”

A gap-to-gap hitter, nine of his 14 homeruns as a Bearkat have been to the opposite field.

“My approach at the plate has always been to look away,” Rogers said. “It’s weird because during BP [batting practice] I always want the ball in. Coach has always told me to hunt the monster up the middle of the field. My approach has always been gap to gap.”

Even though Rogers is only in his junior year, he already has plenty of amazing moments under his belt with the Kats. He hit a bomb at Constellation Field in Sugar Land in a win over the University of Houston May 11, 2018, tied a school record when he scored five runs in a single game May 18, 2018 at the University of the Incarnate Word, had an inside the park homerun April 5, 2019 against Lamar and was named the SLC Hitter of the Week in April 2019.

“Honestly something that a lot of people haven’t gotten to do in their life was last year in our late-night game against Lamar when I was able to walk them off,” Rogers said about one of his favorite moments in a Bearkats uniform. “The chills you get from doing that in that moment is pretty cool. I’d probably say that’s the best [moment] that has happened here.”

He primarily played outfield last year and even ended up as an All-SLC third team outfielder. With the loss of Hunter Hearn who was drafted by the Phillies after last season, Rogers is now embracing the opportunity to get playing time at first base.

“Hearn was an incredible first baseman, and he would always give me tips,” Rogers said. “I mixed in over there a little bit last year but didn’t get to play it much. I think that’s probably my best position. You get the ball a lot. I think it’s more of a leadership role, and you have to contribute over there.”

When asked if there was anything else he wanted to say about this season, Rogers said without any hesitation, “I just want to win.”

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