The Rutgers baseball team is attempting to improve its roster despite the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. On Friday, head coach Steve Owens welcomed the addition of graduate transfer left-handed pitcher Ben Wereski, who was named an Honorable Mention All-Ivy League selection in 2019. Wereski is set to join the Scarlet Knights in the fall.
Wereski is from Buffalo, New York, and attended Orchard Park, where he was a standout player. He received second team all-state, first team All-Western New York and first team all-section honors in 2016. He also became a Perfect Game Northeast Regional All-High School Senior Honorable Mention member after his senior year, reached state semifinals in 2015 and posted a career record of 11-4 with 1.12 walks plus hits per innings pitched ratio to go along with 145 strikeouts.
He then played at Columbia. As a true freshman, he made nine appearances with four starts and went 2-1 with 18 strikeouts in 18 innings. In his collegiate debut against Florida, he struck out six batters in four innings. Later in the season, he struck out three batters in three shutout innings against Saint John’s to earn the win and worked a scoreless frame to earn the decision against Rutgers as well.
In his sophomore season, Wereski started 12 of the 13 games he appeared in and pitched 61 innings. He struck out a team-high 52 batters and also posted three wins in the process.
In 2019, he went 4-3 with a 4.18 earned run average in 51.2 innings. During that season, Wereski registered a career-high 10 strikeouts over six innings against Dartmouth. As a graduate student, Wereski offers the Knights added experience for next season.
He is set to compete his final collegiate season in 2021. Throughout his career, Wereski pitched in 32 games with 26 starts on the mound and logged 130.2 innings with 123 strikeouts recorded for the Lions. The student-athlete is set to earn his degree in psychology and intends to enroll in the Masters of Science in Supply Chain Management program at Rutgers.
“We are very excited to add Ben’s talent, maturity and experience to our pitching staff,” Owens said. “He has been a very good weekend starter for most of his career and has pitched in big games for a successful program. He is extremely motivated to make the most of his last season and we look forward to helping him achieve his individual baseball goals while he completes his advanced degree program.”
Wereski's explanation for why he chose the Knights is simple.
“I chose Rutgers (due to) the excellent opportunity both in the academic and athletic programs,” he said.