With nonconference play in the books, University of Rhode Island starting pitcher Becca Rogers has proven to be one of the most dynamic pitchers in the Atlantic 10.
And she’s just a freshman.
Rogers leads the team with a 7-4 record. Her seven wins is the third most in the conference. Even more impressively, her 2.72 ERA gave her for fourth in the conference for those who have pitched at least 60 innings this season.
Just as another reminder, this is her first year playing collegiate softball.
“I think I have been able to be successful because I have been able to limit my pitches, and if I make a mistake, my defense has my back,” Rogers said. “If the ball is going to be hit, I know they’re going to have my back and make the play.”
In her first couple starts, Rogers’s lack of experience was apparent. She allowed 10 earned runs in her first two games in a total of seven innings pitched. For both those games, she received the loss. However, since then, she has been lights-out.
In 65.2 innings pitched since her first two starts, she has allowed just 20 earned runs. Rogers allowed three runs or less seven times in games where she pitched at least five innings.
“The whole speed of the game is a lot faster [than high school], and it took me a while to get used to how the game is played in college because it is so much different,” Rogers said. “But I think I have been able to transition really well. The coaching staff we have has been really helpful of how to transfer incoming freshmen into college ball.”
On March 14, Rogers was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week after pitching 13.2 shutout innings in four games of that week. She recorded nine strikeouts and allowed just 11 hits.
“I was really help happy [winning the A-10 Rookie of the Week],” Rogers said. “I was proud of myself that I was able to accomplish that. But I know I got that award because my team plays really great defense behind me.”
Being a student-athlete means more than just the performance on the field, though. Athletes are also held to a standard of academic performance. She credited the softball academic advisor, Kristen Casamento, for her success.
“[Balancing school and athletics] is definitely something I have to work at, which I believe every student-athlete has to work on,” Rogers said. “Kristin has been very helpful in giving me tips in how to keep up with all my work.”
Head coach Bridget Hurlman is in her first year with the team. They have a 9-12 record, but the conference is wide open. George Mason University holds the best win percentage in the conference, and they are just three games over .500. Rhode Island has played in just three conference games.
“Coach Hurlman is an amazing coach,” Rogers said. “I think she’s really helped develop me as a much better player than I was when I came here.”