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Mustang of the Week: Jack Rogalla
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Martinsville Mustangs pitcher Jack Rogalla pitched in an NCAA Regional game against N.C. State during the college season and has pitched 12 scoreless innings so far in the Coastal Plain League. (Bulletin photo by Chris Pride)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

By CHRIS PRIDE - Bulletin Sports Writer

Martinsville Mustangs starting pitcher Jack Rogalla entered the Coastal Plain League season on a high. As a member of the University of Binghamton Bearcats, the Oak Park, Ill., native helped guide the upstate New York school to an America East Conference title and a berth into the NCAA tournament. In fact, it was former Mustang Jake Lambert that earned a shutout win over No. 1 seed Maine in the championship game. Rogalla defeated Maine in a winner’s bracket game earlier in the tourney.

Despite taking the loss to host N.C. State in the regional in Raleigh, N.C., Rogalla pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing eight hits and four runs while striking out four and walking none. He was second in the America East in starts with 15 and finished with a 5-5 record with a 3.01 ERA, walking just 13 batters in 89 2/3 innings.

This year with the Mustangs, Rogalla has a 1-0 record in two starts throwing 12 innings with 11 strikeouts and two walks. His start on Tuesday at Wilmington was cut short due to a rain delay, leaving with a 1-0 through five innings of work giving up three hits. The Mustangs eventually lost 2-1.

Here is what the right-hander had to say about pitching in a NCAA regional, how his outings in the CPL have been and more in the latest edition of the Mustang of the Week.

Chris Pride: You’ve gone from Illinois to New York and now to Virginia. Do all three states have a different feel?

Jack Rogalla: The only difference really is the warm weather. It really helps to feel more loose, but that’s the only difference going from state to state is the weather.

CP: Do you mind going state to state? Have you enjoyed the travel?

JR: Yeah. I’ve enjoyed it and baseball has given me the opportunity to go to a lot of new places.

CP: You came down to pitch at James Madison University during your college season, did you think you’d be coming back to Virginia to play later in the summer?

JR: Yeah, before the (college) season started I actually knew I was going to be playing in Martinsville.

CP: Against Stony Brook you threw a complete game four-hitter with no walks, was that the best game you’ve thrown in your collegiate career?

JR: Probably. That start I was able to do everything and I felt confident, especially when I’m able to control all three pitches. I’m a contact pitcher anyway, so as long as they’re hitting ground balls I’m doing my job. Luckily I was able to keep them off the scoreboard and not give them any free passes.

CP: How exciting was it to play in an NCAA regional?

JR: It was by far the coolest baseball experience I’ve ever had. It was something I wish I could do again next year that’s for sure.

CP: Was it intimidating playing against teams like N.C. State and Ole Miss, teams from big conferences?

JR: Not really. It was cool to be able to do that because it’s something you always dream about. You want to play the best and to be the best you have to beat the best. I looked at it as an great opportunity and wasn’t so shocked over the whole situation.

CP: When you look at your two outings this season you’ve only thrown 12 innings but it seems like they’ve been 12 solid innings. Have you been pleased with the innings you’ve thrown so far in the Coastal Plain League?

JR: Absolutely. If you’re putting up zeros, anyway you do it you have to be pleased with it. I’ve been fortunate and have had my fair breaks, but I feel good.

CP: How difficult was it to have that rain delay come through against Wilmington earlier in the week when it looked like you were cruising?

JR: I mean it’s tough and you can’t control the weather. I was hoping it would hold off for a couple more innings and was trying to go seven. You know it happens, and so I saved some pitches and hopefully I can go longer next outing.

CP: With you being a pitcher and the team kind of struggling, how difficult is it for a pitcher that only gets to come out every five or six days to help the team instead of a position player that has a chance every night?

JR: It’s tough and sometimes you feel helpless and only being able to go out there once or twice a week tops is tough. But when you’re out there you have to make the most of it and help the team that way.

CP: And finally you have the bases loaded in the ninth up one and you have a full count on the batter. What pitch do you throw?

JR: Change-up.

CP: Why?

JR: It’s my best pitch and has always been. I have a lot of confidence in it and feel I can throw it whenever.


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