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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘That’s just who I am’: How baseball’s Jordan Rogers’ relentless positivity helped him overcome sophomore slump

Garima Thapa
Jordan Rogers waits for a pitch at bat on March 12 in Eck Stadium.

During a drastic sophomore slump last season that knocked him out of the starting lineup, Wichita State baseball second baseman Jordan Rogers never lost his trademark positivity that has made him loved in the Shocker dugout.

After a sweep of East Carolina in late April 2023, Rogers was recorded dancing on a ping-pong table in Wichita State’s locker room while his teammates cheered him on. As Rogers puts it, that type of energy is “just who I am.”

“I bring positivity, just good vibes,” Rogers said. “I’m always smiling and stuff. You’ll never see me mad or not talking to anybody … So whenever I show up to the field, I think that I bring people up.”

During his freshman year with the Shockers, Rogers slashed .307/.383/.393 at the plate and started 34 of Wichita State’s 53 games. In his sophomore season, Rogers declined to a miserable .102 average and saw his playing time sliced to a third of what it was the previous year.

This year, Rogers has rebounded to surpass his impressive freshman season. Currently, he’s slashing .308/.424/.510 while anchoring the middle of Wichita State’s lineup on a routine basis.

“Overcoming last year has meant a lot to me this year,” Rogers said. “I didn’t play good … Having the year that I’m having right now means a lot to me, because I’ve worked really hard for it.”

Not taking the easy way out
Prior to his sophomore season, Rogers’ grandfather, who was a father figure in his life, died. Rogers said this, on top of other familial issues, left him “in a mixed state of mind.”

“(I) had a lot of stuff not going for me, and I wasn’t really able to park that all outside the field, and (I) kind of brought it with me inside the field,” Rogers said.

During an offseason that saw a head coach transition for Wichita State with Brian Green stepping in to replace interim coach Loren Hibbs, Rogers joined many of his teammates in entering the transfer portal.

Rogers had a conversation with Green over the summer and, after hearing Green’s emphasis on team culture, was convinced to stay on the team. Rogers referred to almost transferring after last season as “the easy way out.”

“It’s easy to leave instead of just doing what’s hard and doing what’s uncomfortable … it just made sense to stay,” Rogers said. “People do what they have got to do. But for me, I just feel like I had to make a name for myself again.”

Green said Rogers was very transparent about last season’s off-field struggles during their initial conversation, which meant a lot to Green.

“As soon as players do that with coaches … you’ve got somebody who’s willing to trust you,” Green said. “And I think that whenever you get that, I just think you’re going to find players who’re going to be successful … And I think being upfront enables him to be aware of it and be aware of his mindset.”

‘Keep believing in yourself’
According to Green, Rogers was “crazy good” in the fall season and carried that over to the spring.

Rogers said he adjusted in mindset by simplifying his approach at the plate and maintaining self-confidence.

“I’m playing comfortable,” Rogers said. “I’m playing loose; I’m not playing timid or tense. I’m just going out there and being myself.”

Green said Rogers is “scratching the surface of how good he can be” on the field. Off the field, Rogers is one of the primary leaders in the locker room — which was instrumental in forming the team’s culture around the new coaching staff.

“Jordan is one of the centerpiece people that … essentially from day one just said, ‘We’re going to be the leaders of this team,’” Green said. “And they’ve done that through optimism and being positive.”

Rogers has been through the emotional highs and lows of baseball, from an impressive freshman year to his year two struggles to his resurgent junior campaign. Rogers has used his experiences to impart some important lessons to the new people on the team.

“I’ve talked to a lot of guys this year who started out the game kind of sluggish,” Rogers said. “I’m like, ‘Just move on.’ You’re going to have games where you just play like crap, and you’re going to have a week where you don’t feel good … You just got to move on and keep grinding and keep believing in yourself.”

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About the Contributors
Jacob Unruh
Jacob Unruh, Assistant Sports Editor
Jacob Unruh is the assistant sports editor for The Sunflower. He is a junior at Wichita State, majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. This is Unruh's first year on staff. He goes by he/him pronouns.
Garima Thapa
Garima Thapa, Photographer
Garima Thapa is a second-year photographer for The Sunflower.

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