Roupp wraps up first season at UNC Wilmington

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UNC Wilmington pitcher Landen Roupp, second from left, celebrates with teammates after defeating East Carolina on June 3 in the NCAA Greenville Regional. Roupp started the game.


Sports Writer

Friday, June 8, 2018

By the time the 2018 MLB Draft wrapped up, the UNC Wilmington baseball team had tied a program record for the number of draftees it produced.

A total of six players were taken over the three-day draft, matching the previous total of six last season and in 2006. And while Seahawks freshman Landen Roupp was not among the group, the former Faith Christian pitcher has goals of hearing his name in the coming years.

“They’re work ethic was like no other, and I take that from those guys,” Roupp said of his teammates that were drafted. “It’s always been a dream of mine. It gives me all the motivation that friends and guys I’m playing with made it.”

Roupp just capped off a successful freshman season that set him up to be an important figure in the rotation moving forward. UNCW’s season came to an end on June 3 with a loss to South Carolina in the NCAA Greenville Regional. One game prior, Roupp started against East Carolina in a game UNCW would eventually win to stay alive in the regional.

“It was pretty awesome, playing in front of that fan base was unreal,” Roupp said. “Making it to an NCAA regional, definitely it was a dream that I always had. My first year of playing college baseball and getting to play in a regional was sweet. I always watched it all the time growing up, so getting that opportunity was pretty awesome.”

That final start in June was the end of a season that saw Roupp start 15 games for the Seahawks. The right-hander worked his way into the rotation after earning respect and proving his ability after a strong showing in the fall where he impressed coaches with the types of pitches he was able to throw and command.

He tries not to throw anything straight. That decision came with no longer throwing a four-seam fastball, and instead relying on the sinking action of his two-seam.

“It definitely takes a lot to get used to,” Roupp said. “You have to know where to throw it and how to keep it low in the zone. Coming in, coaches told me I wouldn’t get many strikeouts and the sink on my ball was something I had to harness. I was pretty much a ground ball pitcher, and took strikeouts as a bonus.”

Roupp was able to both overpower and buckle the knees of most high school hitters over his five-year varsity career with FCS. In college, Roupp found his effectiveness by letting hitters make contact.

He finished with an 0-3 record, a wild number considering Roupp made 15 starts. He tossed 50 ⅓ innings and allowed 50 hits, 34 runs (20 earned), while walking 29 with 47 strikeouts. Batters hit .254 off him.

Of those 47 strikeouts, he’ll most remember the first one. On March 4, just a few minutes after 1 p.m., Landen Roupp collected his first career strikeout as a college pitcher. It was a looking K that ended the first inning of a game against Princeton.

“I’ll always remember that first game I started,” Roupp said. “I remember getting that first strikeout in first inning and being really excited after.”

While that was a memorable first, he never got to experience the feeling of collecting his first win. The Seahawks won eight times over his 15 starts, but Roupp was saddled with no-decisions often, leading to a 0-3 mark. Still, when looking back on the season, Roupp was most proud of how much playing time he earned.

“It was a good year and I was happy with how much I played as a freshman,” Roupp said. “I wish I had a couple wins at least, but that happens. After the fall season we had meetings with the coaches and they said I would throw a good amount this spring if I kept up with it this fall.”