Dalton Rogers a steady force out of the USM bullpen
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - He’s not exactly Harry Houdini but Dalton Rogers certainly has batters fooled.
If he’s got two strikes on you, good luck hitting what’s coming next.
“The hitters feel like I’m on plane, on plane - but they’re not,” said USM pitching coach Christian Ostrander. “That ball is getting above their barrel. Their eyes tell them one thing but what the ball’s doing is a different thing. And it’s not so much that it’s in fact rising at 60 feet but it’s the visual of the release angle and the release height. And it’s got high spin, it’s got velocity so they got a lot to prepare for with that. But it’s definitely a plus pitch for him.”
Ostrander compares Rogers to former Golden Eagle lefty Ryan Och.
The Jones College transfer’s provided a similar jolt out of the bullpen this season. Rogers has six saves and a 1.67 earned-run-average in 20 appearances – opponents are batting just .104 against him.
“Really just eat innings,” Rogers said. “Be able to be a guy that they can trust to go in there and help them be successful. And just be that guy that can dominate and beat hitters and I feel like I’m doing a decent job at that right now.”
“If he can get his strike percentage to where it’s over 63 percent overall then I think he’s a dude,” Ostrander said. “And he really has done that. He’s evolved, I think he believes that he belongs and he knows he can do it. He’s done it on some big moments, big stages so I think confidence has grown and continues to grow.”
As unique as Rogers’ delivery is, Southern Miss has a whole batch of other arms to keep hitters off balance.
As a staff, the Golden Eagles rank top ten nationally in five different pitching categories, including a nation-leading 4.39 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
“Dalton Rogers, [Garrett] Ramsey, they can both cover three, four innings,” said USM junior catcher Blake Johnson. “And then you turn it over to [Landon] Harper, [Tyler Stuart]. Having that much depth and no matter who’s on or who’s not you know somebody’s ready to come in and get the job done. It makes you feel a lot more confident.”
“It’s fun obviously being on the mound myself and being able to compete but it’s so fun watching everybody behind me, in front of me go out there and do their thing,” Rogers said. “It’s definitely an exciting thing and probably is the best staff I’ve ever been a part of.”
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