Even though fall sports at Rutgers have been canceled, the Scarlet Knights baseball program is still making moves. Rutgers has five true freshman commits for the 2021 season after last year’s off-season.
Among those five is true freshman outfielder Ryan Lasko. The New Jersey native ranked No. 1 overall in state outfielders among his graduating class. He also ranked first in batting average, owning a .404 average in his final season at his alma mater, Jackson Memorial. With a perfect fielding percentage, Lasko should be able to bolster the Knights' outfield.
Lasko is part of head baseball coach Steve Owens’s second recruitment class as head coach.
“He’s my kind of coach,” Lasko said. “The way he talks makes you want to run through a brick wall.” Owens wasn’t the only factor that brought Lasko to the Banks. For him, being close to home was a driving factor in his college decision.
“Being able to stay home was big for me,” Lasko said. “I’m close to home, all of my family is from New Jersey.”
With the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) putting a halt on fall sports at Rutgers, there are a lot of questions about what will happen with the 2021 baseball season. For Lasko, he’s just excited to be able to play in any way he can.
“I’m just happy to be able to start back up again,” Lasko said.
While the University has not put out any official word on what will happen with spring sports, student-athletes like Lasko are preparing for the season in any way they can.
“Whether it’s a practice or intrasquad games, just getting better every day,” Lasko said of his priorities for his true freshman season.
In the 2020 season, the Knights went 6-9 before the season was cut short. The focus this year is simply winning.
“I like the mentality of win over everything and that’s everyone’s mentality here,” Lasko said. “The winning is prioritized and that’s what I want to do, I want to win.”
As a four-year varsity player with a .829 slugging percentage in his last full season and an All-Shore Second Team player in 2019, Lasko is bringing power to the Rutgers team.
“I’m very gritty, I’ll grind out at-bats,” Lasko said. “I like to take advantage of (opportunities).”
Lasko notched a .440 on-base percentage with 21 runs battled in, in his last full season with the Jaguars.
“(He’s) a gifted outfielder with a complete skill set. He hits for average and power, runs very well, defends at a high level and plays the game hard,” Owens said.
Looking back on his baseball career, Lasko remembers his little league coach, Evan Glaser, and his high school hitting coach as two of his biggest supporters.
“They got me where I am today,” Lasko said. He also looked to players like National Baseball Hall of Fame member Ken Griffey Jr., Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge as inspiration for the way he wants to play the game.
“I just love to play,” Lasko said.
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