Wesleyan’s Ping Reflects on Tough Times for Titans
Written by WZND Newsroom on April 4, 2023
Image of Jalen Ping, courtesy of Brian Kindt
NORMAL, Ill. – It’s been a rough start to the season for the Illinois Wesleyan Titans baseball team, with a 5-14 record that includes a loss to the Eastern Illinois Panthers with a score of 24-7. Still, senior outfielder and catcher Jalen Ping feels that the record does not reflect the effort the team has put in thus far.
“We’ve had a lot of games where we’ve had the lead late,” Ping said. “A lot of times in the seventh, eighth inning, and we either make errors or give up a couple walks, and the other team gets a bloop hit and those runs score.”
Ping sees one major area where the team can improve upon, one that might make a major difference- pitching, as the team currently sports a staff-wide earned run average of 7.29 and has already issued 103 walks.
“I think it starts with pitching, pitching is the most important position on the field, and we have guys who done really well, and all of the guys on our team can pitch, just occasionally we walk the leadoff batter, and it seems like when that happens, the runner always scores,” said Ping, “I just think forcing contact would give us a better chance to win.”
Ping also stated the team might try and pull more from their spring break trip three weeks ago, which saw the team travel to Memphis and go 3-2 in five games.
“We got a couple wins, saw some decent arms, faced good competition, overall a good trip,” said Ping. “Would’ve liked to go 5-0, but [it was] a good trip.”
Ping himself has had a solid start to his season so far, hitting .400 and driving in 12 in 19 games. The senior attributes his success to his aggressive approach, mixed with a bit of a changed mindset.
“That first pitch, that first strike, I want to attack.” Ping said, “what’s changed this year is that on the first pitch, I used to sit on the fastball, but now I’m more open, if I pick up that curveball or change-up early in the count, I’m going to swing, especially if it’s in the middle of the zone.”
Seeing as this is his senior year, Ping has also approached every game in a different way than he has in years past.
“Pretty much before every game I’m just trying not to put pressure on myself,” Ping said. “I’m just really trying to enjoy it, because I have 20-25 games left. Just trying not to get too upset. [Even] if I go 0-4, I get to play baseball. Just having fun and soaking it all in, because I know a couple years down the road I’m going to miss it.”