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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Rollins returns to rubber after battling injuries

Rollins led the Atlantic 10 in strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2016 with a 7.1-to-1 ratio. PHOTO COURTESY OF SJU ATHLETICS

After missing part of the 2017 season and the full 2018 and 2019 seasons, left-handed pitcher Lucas Rollins has finally made his long awaited return to the mound.

“It was a great feeling [to be back out there], a lot of hard work in between, a lot of rough days, but it was really great to be back out there with everybody,” Rollins said.

Shoulder and foot surgeries kept Rollins benched for most of his sophomore, junior and senior years. The now returning graduate student was finally able to toe the rubber again on Feb.16 in a preseason match up against Kent State University in Florida.

But despite his anticipated come back, a loss against Kent State meant to Rollins that there was still more work to be done to complete his return.

“I’m really excited to get back out there,” Rollins said. “Last Sunday really didn’t go my way so I’m definitely looking to build on that and continue to get better each week.”

Rollins said the keys for him are that he is healthy and he finally got his opportunity to be back out of the baseball diamond.

“I feel really good,” Rollins said. “It’s great to finally be healthy again.”

In spite of missing those two and a half seasons, Rollins said he never let it affect his mindset. A great teammate and a leader on the squad, he is always looking to help out the rest of the guys.

“Guys definitely look up to him and they all take his advice,” senior catcher James McConnon said. “He has a lot to offer having been here for five years now, and he’s played with guys like Tim Brennan, Deon [Stafford], so he’s picked their brains, and he just has a lot of knowledge about the game to offer.”

Head Coach Fritz Hamburg also highlighted Rollins’ leadership skills, particularly in taking some of the younger guys on the team under his wing.

“Early on guys come in with wide eyes and their job is to just play, and he’s been around the program long enough to where he’s comfortable doing what he’s doing and is now more comfortable with being able to reach out and give and help the younger guys,” said Hamburg.

On top of that, Rollins’ competitive nature on the field is an asset to Hamburg, and ultimately he knows it helps make Rollins a better ballplayer.

“[Rollins’] biggest tool is his ability to compete,” Hamburg said. “When he was really playing well on top of the fact that he can compete so well, he really only makes this team better.”

With some tough opponents ahead on the team’s schedule, Rollins is looking forward to the chance not only to get back on the mound, but also to grow as a team.

“Facing these strong opponents just helps us get better and better each week, and so when we ultimately get into conference play, we’ll be ready,” Rollins said.

And as the team continues to improve heading into the season, so has Rollins with their sights set on conference play come March.

“At Kent State, we showed good things,” McConnon said. “Lucas showed some good things, and we just want to build on it week by week, heading into conference play.”

Excited for the prospects of a healthy 2020 season, Rollins said he is very much looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

“We look great, we’re building each week, and every time I’m out here with the guys we get better and better and so I’m just really looking forward to the rest of the season,” Rollins said.

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