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Mar '22 08

Janssen Picks up Loss Despite Strong Pitching Performance for Gardner-Webb

Belgium, Europeans in the USA Comments Off on Janssen Picks up Loss Despite Strong Pitching Performance for Gardner-Webb

Drew Janssen picked up the loss on Saturday, Mar 5, for the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs despite pitching four strong innings in the 1-0 defeat to Dartmouth University.

Janssen, the first Belgian to play NCAA Division 1 baseball, allowed no earned runs and just three hits for the Bulldogs on a chilly afternoon in Boiling Springs, NC, striking out two and walking two more. He allowed a bunt single to Tyler Robinson to start the fifth inning and was then removed from the game after tossing 58 pitches, with Robinson scoring on a sacrifice fly later in the inning for the game’s sole run.

Janssen, who made his first-division debut in his native Belgium with the Borgerhout Squirrels of Antwerp at just 14 years of age and put on the Belgian men’s national team jersey for the first time just two years later, is expected to figure prominently in the Bulldogs’ weekend rotation in 2022.

He joined the Big South Conference program after playing two seasons on the junior-college circuit for Frontier Community College (Iowa), where he struck out 116 batters in 85.2 innings over two seasons.

Last summer, the young Belgian, who throws in the low- to mid-90s, helped the Heidenhem Heideköpfe claim their third German Bundesliga title in a row, and also played for the club at the CEB Champions Cup, Europe’s premier club competition, where he impressed with the bat, going 10-for-20 at the plate (three doubles and one home run) while playing in the infield. He also suited up for the State College Spikes in the MLB Draft League, striking out seven in 5.1 innings of work.

In September he suited up for the Belgian national team at the 2021 European Championship in Turin, Italy, collecting five hits, driving in four RBI, and pitching 1o.1 innings as the Belgians finished 8th in the 16-team field.

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