Last Updated: Fri May 13, 2022 - 1:06AM
In 2017, Greater Latrobe baseball enjoyed the greatest season in program history, winning both the WPIAL and PIAA championships. Last year, Seton Hill University baseball had arguably the best campaign in school history, reaching the NCAA Division II National Championship Tournament. Currently, Rutgers University is nearing 40 wins and is among the top teams in the Big Ten Conference. The common thread between those teams was Jared Kollar, who was an ace pitcher for all three squads. Kollar is featured on this installment of the Westmoreland Alum Q&A.
Kollar made the Greater Latrobe varsity roster as a freshman pitcher and infielder in 2014. That year, the Wildcats went 9-10 overall, including 7-5 in section play, but failed to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.
The following campaign, Greater Latrobe went 11-10, including 5-5 in section action, and qualified for the WPIAL Quad-A postseason. However, the Wildcats were bounced in the opening round, falling to Seneca Valley.
In 2016, the Wildcats improved to 14-8 overall, and 9-3 in the section. Back in the Quad-A playoffs, the Wildcats defeated North Allegheny in the first round, but fell to Norwin in the quarterfinals.
Kollar’s senior year in 2017 was one for the ages, though. In 67 innings of work, Kollar posted 103 strikeouts. In the process, he helped propel the Wildcats to a perfect mark of 14-0 in section play. In the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs, the Wildcats defeated Montour and Chartiers Valley to reach the championship game. Against Mars Area, Kollar got the start on the mound, and guided the Wildcats to a 6-2 win to claim district gold. From there, Greater Latrobe entered the PIAA bracket, and defeated Manheim Central, West Allegheny, and Springfield-Delco to reach the state championship. Playing at Penn State University, the Wildcats defeated Whitehall 7-0 in a rain-shortened game to capture the PIAA Championship. In that triumph, Kollar earned the win on the mound. The Wildcats finished the campaign with a record of 24-2.
Throughout his baseball career at Greater Latrobe, Kollar was named First-Team All-Section in all four of his seasons. He also participated in football and basketball for the Wildcats.
Following his graduation, Kollar matriculated to Seton Hill University, joining the Griffins’ baseball team for the 2018 campaign. As a freshman pitcher, Kollar appeared in 11 contests, including 10 starts. During that action, he went 4-4 with an ERA of 4.53 and 60 strikeouts in 47.2 innings. Seton Hill went 34-22 overall, including 17-11 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). In the PSAC Tournament, the Griffins ousted West Chester, Bloomsburg, Shippensburg, and Millersville to capture the PSAC Championship. In the Atlantic Regional, SHU defeated Shepherd, the University of Charleston, and Millersville, but lost twice to Mercyhurst to conclude the season.
In 2019, Kollar improved to 5-3 with an ERA of 4.07 and 72 Ks over 59.2 innings of work. The Griffins posted another strong season, going 32-20 overall, with a conference mark of 18-10. In the PSAC Tournament, the Griffins lost to Millersville, but rebounded with wins against Mercyhurst, Gannon, and Cal U. However, the rest of the tournament was cancelled because of rain, ending the Seton Hill season.
Kollar was off to an spectacular start in 2020, as he went 3-0 with an ERA of 0.39 and 31 strikeouts in 23 innings. Seton Hill posted a mark of 9-4 before the rest of the campaign was cancelled because of COVID.
A year ago, Kollar missed time with injury, but still compiled a record of 5-0 with one save, an ERA of 1.19, and 59 strikeouts in 37.2 innings. Playing an abbreviated schedule, the Griffins went 39-8 overall, and 23-4 in the PSAC. In the conference tournament, SHU defeated Gannon in the single-game first round, and then swept Mercyhurst in the best-of-three semifinals. The Griffins fell in three games to Bloomsburg in the PSAC Championship series, however. The Griffins then rebounded in the Atlantic Regional, avenging the loss to Bloomsburg and defeating Millersville twice. As a result, Seton Hill advanced to the Division II Championships. From there, the Griffs edged Southern New Hampshire, but fell to Angelo State and Wingate to conclude the season.
In his final five appearances last season for Seton Hill, Kollar was outstanding allowing just one earned run in 22 1/3 innings while striking out 33 batters.
With an extra year of eligibility at his disposal, Kollar opted to transfer to Rutgers University. Kollar has been stellar in his only season with the Scarlet Knights, as he’s posted a mark of 7-2 in 12 games, all starts. In 64 innings of work, he’s produced an ERA of 3.38, along with 69 strikeouts. Rutgers, meanwhile, is 37-12 overall, including 16-5 in the Big Ten Conference.
Jared took time from his schedule to respond to questions about his decision to transfer to Rutgers, what made Greater Latrobe’s championship team so special, and which legendary hitters he’d choose to face.
Q: What has been your biggest adjustment to playing Division I baseball?
A: The overall talent level is higher, so mistake pitches will get hit for extra-base hits more often.
Q: What pitches do you throw, and which do you consider as your "out pitch"?
A: I throw a four-seam fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. My curveball has made my living.
Q: Rutgers has enjoyed tremendous success this season, especially in conference play. What are the most significant factors in that?
A: The fact that we are able to win in any way possible makes us dangerous. There have been games where we've scored six runs to start off the game, and other times when we've had to score six runs in the last two innings to win. Our defense has been solid all year, with multiple SportsCenter Top 10 plays. Our pitching has tremendous depth, where we can pass the ball off to whomever whenever their time is up.
Q: What team and individual goals did you set for 2022?
A: My only team and individual goal is to win.
Q: What led to your decision to transfer to Rutgers?
A: It was the best option athletically, as well as academically. The coaching staff also showed a lot of interest from the moment I went into the transfer portal to the time I committed.
Q: What was your favorite moment during your time at Seton Hill?
A: The whole World Series experience was truly unforgettable.
Q: What are the best qualities for Seton Hill head coach Marc Marizzaldi?
A: To name a few: fearless, uncommon, energy giving, ownership
Q: What is your major, and ideal future profession?
A: I am currently working on my master's in supply chain management, with the pursuit of getting a job in that field.
Q: What has been your most enjoyable college class?
A: My favorite college class was Western Cultures 2 with Mr. Crossen, because he was able to make the class discussion based about a lot of spiritual topics that I found interesting.
Q: You won the WPIAL and PIAA titles your senior year at Greater Latrobe. What made that team special?
A: Since that class was so senior loaded, we were able to play together for years, so our team chemistry was extraordinary.
Q: What was your fondest high school memory?
A: The moment at Penn State when my team and I won the state tournament.
Q: If you could face any hitter, past or present, for one at bat, who would you choose? What would be the result?
A: Either Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire during their steroid usage. The result would be a home run, just so I could see how far they can hit it.
Q: Do you prefer water, a sports drink, or something else during baseball games?
A: I stick to just water during the games. Usually the night before and the night after, I take an electrolyte packet to help with cramping and recovery.
Q: To which movie or TV show can you recite nearly every line?
A: I am getting pretty close to memorizing lines from Seinfeld.
Q: What advice would you give yourself as a high school freshman?
A: Don't put extra pressure on yourself; make having fun a priority, and the game will reward you more times than not.
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