Feb. 6, 2009

click here for CBI MAC preview


Nine Innings with Greg Rohan

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


Greg 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 poll?

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 most memorable. 

Fifth 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 else.

Seventh Inning – How frustrating was it to win the MAC regular-season title in 2008 but not win the tournament?

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 year ago?

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 Ohio.

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 Office)