for CBI MAC preview
Nine Innings with Greg Rohan
By Phil Stanton
Rohan not only carries a big stick, he brings experience.
The reigning Mid-American Conference Player of
the Year, Rohan is a fifth-year senior who brings leadership to
the Kent State Golden Flashes. Rohan belted 20 home runs in
2008, the second-highest total in school history, and earned
All-America honors. He batted .355 with 70 hits, 18 doubles, 50
runs and 61 RBI. Rohan drew 17 walks and was hit 17 times to
lead the team with an on-base percentage of .443. The Golden
Flashes (36-21, 16-8) fell one game short of making a second
straight NCAA Regional appearance.
Kent State is the prohibitive favorite to win the
MAC in 2009, and Rohan is one of the top reasons. He recently
took time to answer our questions about the upcoming campaign.
First Inning – After a tremendous 2008 season,
can you improve your stats for 2009?
I am very happy on how the 2008 season went for
me statistics wise. That being said, I feel like there is always
room for improvement. All stats aside, all I can worry about is
having a quality at-bat every time at the plate. With the season
being so long, only good things can happen if successfully
having quality at-bat after quality at-bat. Statistics can take
care of themselves.
Second Inning – How do you see your
leadership role as a fifth-year senior?
As a fifth-year senior, I see my leadership role
as one that comes with experience. I think the younger guys look
at me as a player and teammate that has been here and knows
what's expected from the coaches and the university. I pride
myself as a type of leader that leads by example. I'm not the
kind of captain that is going to yell and scream but the kind
that tries his hardest to lead by example. Coach Stricklin
always says that the best players on a team also have to be the
hardest workers. This is definitely what I strive for.
Third Inning – Were you surprised that
Kent State was ranked No. 18 in the Baseball America preseason
No. I was very happy when I saw that we were
ranked at No. 18 in the preseason poll. We have a lot of
talented players this year with the most depth that we have had
in recent years. Having said this, we realize that it is just a
number and that it's not going to change how we approach this
season. We set goals before the season and before this ranking
came out. Being ranked or unranked will not change how we go
about achieving our goals this year.
Fourth Inning – What would it mean to
you to return to the NCAA Regionals in your final season?
Returning to the NCAA Regionals is definitely a
goal of our 2009 season. It is a stepping-stone goal that we
have that is necessary to achieve so that we can get where we
really want to go, and that's the College World
Series. Returning to the NCAA Regionals is obviously a huge goal
for me this year because it is my last season here at Kent State
and everyone always wants their last season to be the best and
Inning – What do the Golden Flashes need to do to win the MAC?
What we need to do to win the MAC is to take one
game at a time. Our goal is to have quality at-bats hitter one
through nine. Good things happen with good at-bats. We need to
not taking anything for granted and give everything we have
every game for 27 outs. The pitching staff needs to battle and
throw strikes. If all aspects are achieved we feel we have a
great chance to win.
Sixth Inning – What makes Scott Stricklin such
a good head coach?
There are many things about Coach Stricklin that
make him a great coach. He is very good at getting his point
across to us players. One aspect about his coaching that I think
separates him from other coaches is the way he takes every
individual player and works specifically with their individual
abilities. He gets the best out of all his players on and off
the field. It is unbelievable to see the changes that he and the
rest of the coaching staff have done since they have been here.
He is a great coach, and I wouldn't want to play for anyone
Seventh Inning – How frustrating was it
to win the MAC regular-season title in 2008 but not win the
It was very frustrating and disappointing for us
last year to not win the tournament. It was one of the hardest
losses that I have had to deal with in my career so far. I think
that our whole team has used that tournament championship loss
as motivation for this year to work harder and prepare better.
We realize that there are many other teams that didn't win the
tournament last year and that they have the same goals as us for
this year. For us to be successful we must have the mindset
to out work all of them.
Eighth Inning – What was the biggest
factor in your increased power from 12 home runs in 2007 to 20 a
I think the power increase was a combination of
plate discipline along with getting stronger in the off-season
and maturing as a hitter in general.
Ninth Inning – You've had seven homers
and 13 RBI in a pair of three-game sweeps of Ohio the past two
seasons. Why are you so productive against the Bobcats?
I don't think that it has anything to do with the
Bobcats in general. They are a very good baseball team. Baseball
is a streaky game and it has just ended up over the past two
years that I have gotten into a groove during the series against
Extra Innings – What did you learn in
2006 when you missed the entire season due to injury?
As the season went on in 2006 and I was unable to
play because of injury, I got very anxious and hungry to get
back on to the field. I feel that the missed season taught me to
work harder and not to ever take anything I do for granted.
Sitting out was very hard and made me appreciate the opportunity
to play a lot more.
(photos courtesy of Kent State Media Relations