Pitching became a priority for Mark Roberts midway through his four-year varsity baseball career at Hoffman Estates.
So, Roberts liked that Truman State University head coach Dan Davis had a six-year stint as a pitching coach at Northern Iowa before that program disbanded. As a result the right-hander who just graduated from Hoffman recently made a commitment to the Division II program in Kirksville, Mo.
"I like his approach to pitching and he really knows his stuff," said Roberts, who had a 4.38 weighted grade-point average on a 4.0 scale and scored 25 on the ACT. "That was an immediate draw and the school has a really good academic reputation. I'm big on academics so that was a huge plus."
The plus for Truman State is Roberts comes in with career and single-season records for strikeouts at Hoffman. He had 70 strikeouts and was 4-6 with a 2.57 ERA this spring and just threw a no-hitter last weekend for his Fox Valley Royals travel team.
"During the travel season going into my junior year I pitched pretty well and that's when I started to really, really focus on it and commit to playing at the next level," Roberts said. "I started really focusing on pitching because I didn't have the bat to play at the next level and I liked pitching more than playing a position."
Roberts said he also talked to UIC but Division I interest dissipated. He said Illinois Wesleyan was also interested but he was drawn to a Truman State progam that won 17 games in Davis' first two seasons combined (2007-08) but has won 17 and 16 the last two seasons.
"They are improving and I think they are headed in the right direction," Roberts said.