Clutch Win

Trent Rothlin can be a man of few words. Today, as usual, he let his pitching do all the talking. The former Clemson pitcher, in his second season at Ole Miss, came in when the Rebels needed him most and got the job done – in a big-time way. Ole Miss beat Arkansas State 4-3.

It was the top of the fifth inning and the game was tied 3-3 after a Rebel error cost the team two runs. Freshman right-hander Bobby Wahl had pitched admirably in his first collegiate outing. But after an hour rain delay and into the fifth inning, it was time for a change.

Enter Rothlin. There was a Red Wolf on second base, and Rothlin picked the runner off in a rundown, as he was tagged out by second baseman Alex Yarbrough. That was out No. 1 in the important inning.

After that, two Red Wolves batters grounded out.

But Rothlin's work had only begun. He went the rest of the way, pitching five innings, allowing only two hits and no damage with five strikeouts.

"Unbelievable," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "He came in when it was tied. Came in and we picked a guy off at second. From then on he really dominated."

Indeed he did. Bianco said Rothlin's role isn't necessarily what it turned out to be today.

"His role is really to come in in the middle, eat up some outs, and maybe pitch an inning or two," Bianco said of the senior righty. "But after five games in six days, and about to be another five games in six days, we needed to extend him a little bit. He was so dominant today that it was easy to leave him in there."

Trent Rothlin was superb the last 5 innings
Bruce Newman
"Coach B told us we were going to do the pick-off play right there before I threw a pitch," Rothlin said. "I was happy to get the guy. I just went in to eat up outs, so that's what I tried to focus on."

Rothlin, who got the win, retired the last 11 batters he faced in this one.

"I just wanted to throw the ball in the strike zone," said Rothlin, who also got the win Sunday against Wright State with two innings of relief work. "Just throw the ball in the strike zone, and let them put it in play. That's pretty much all I was thinking."

Wahl had pitched four innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits with two strikeouts and no walks.

"I was a little nervous at first, I'm not going to lie. First collegiate start. And then the rain delay," Wahl said. "But I went back out there and warmed back up and tried to just throw strikes."

A Matt Smith solo home run to right in the first inning got things started for the Rebels. Arkansas State tied the game in the second with a Michael George double which scored Ryan Emery who had singled.

Ole Miss went up 2-1 in the second. Matt Tracy singled, followed by a Miles Hamblin double. Preston Overbey grounded out which got Tracy home.

A rain delay of just over an hour ensued, and Ole Miss extended its lead when play resumed. Taylor Hightower walked, and after moving to second on a Blake Newalu ground out, a Tanner Mathis base hit got Hightower home to make it 3-1.

But the visiting Red Wolves got two runs home in the top of the fifth via an Ole Miss error. After back to back singles from Dustin Jones and Michael Faulkner, a bunt by Zach Maggio was fielded by Wahl, who overthrew Overbey at third base and both runs scored.

That's when Rothlin came in, who allowed the Rebels to stay in it until Matt Snyder's RBI single, which scored Mathis who had reached on a walk, to win it in the bottom of the ninth.

"I think it was a fast ball. It had a little movement on it," said Snyder of the pitch sent to him by Brandon Farley, the losing pitcher (0-2) for the Red Wolves. "It kind of snuck in on me. I was just looking to not try to do too much, because we had a guy (Mathis) on third base. So I wasn't trying to be a hero and hit a home run. I just wanted to get good contact and to win the ball game right there for the guys."

Mission accomplished.

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