The former Lassiter High School standout was forced to have Tommy John surgery in late March of last year and the Owls had to make do without him.
There was no time table for his return after surgery, leaving his status for the 2013 season uncertain, but rehabilitation went exactly on schedule and Janas came into this season near 100 percent.
After feeling his way through his first couple of starts for Kennesaw State, he’s delivering his best stuff. He’s got a perfect 7-0 record in 60.1 innings of work. He’s struck out 42 hitters, given up only seven walks and has allowed just five earned runs.
His last two wins have been complete games, which has made members of the bullpen happy.
“Honestly, I try to throw strikes in the zone and let my defense do the work,” Janas said. “It’s easy to pitch in the zone when you have a good defense behind you.”
Janas’ first start this season against Georgia on Feb. 20 was a trial run.
He threw just three innings, but it was three scoreless innings of no-hit ball with two strikeouts and no walks. The Owls prevailed 2-1.
He said the Georgia game was a confidence booster for him and was amazed how effective his fastball was, having not pitched in 10 months. His fastball, which he throws in the low 90s, continued to be on cue this season and Janas can locate it on both sides of the strike zone.
“It’s amazing from a medical standpoint for him to come back from where he was,” Kennesaw State coach Mike Sansing said. “He’s similar to what he was before and he seems to get hitters quicker than some of the other pitchers. He’s got long arms and reaches out to the plate.”
Janas said his slider and changeup haven’t come along as quickly as his fastball since the surgery, but based on his record, they seem to be working just fine.
“They’re good but I always think they can get better,” Janas said. “I wasn’t too disappointed with them 10 months out of surgery but they’ve come a long way.”
His next start against Auburn a week later wasn’t quite as impressive, given the fact he was pulled after two innings. He gave up two hits and a walk but kept the runners on base and Kennesaw State went on to win 9-2.
With his fastball still clicking, Janas slowly built endurance, going five innings against Georgia Southern and picking up his first win and also pitched five shutout innings against Mercer.
He worked seven innings in Atlantic Sun wins over Northern Kentucky, Florida Gulf Coast and Jacksonville, in which he gave up a combined six runs.
But he said his best outing of the year came in his start at North Florida on April 19. North Florida came into that game as the nation’s leading hitting team.
Coincidentally, it was against North Florida when he injured his elbow last year.
Janas limited North Florida’s sluggers to just five hits and kept the Ospreys off the scoreboard en route to a 4-0 Kennesaw State victory. He struck out four and walked just one.
“That was the best start of the year, maybe my whole life,” Janas said.
He followed that with a complete game effort against East Tennessee State, posting his sixth straight win. He allowed a run, ending a 17-inning streak without doing so.
“He locates his fastball on both sides of the plate, and that gives you two pitches,” Sansing said. “When you have that kind of control, that’s why your ERA is where it is.”