'No Pressure' Gem

OMAHA - Rebel LHP Christian Trent said Sunday after Ole Miss lost to Virginia in their College World Series opener he would not allow the pressure of yet another elimination game affect him against Texas Tech this afternoon. He was right, spinning another gem as the Rebs advanced.

After the Ole Miss Rebels had lost their debut game in the College World Series, 2-1, to Virginia on Sunday, staying alive in the double elimination game would rest largely on the shoulders of lefty Christian Trent.

Trent was asked Sunday about the enormity of the situation/assignment. Win or go home.

The soft-spoken Trent was matter-of-fact with his answers.

"I didn't let it bother me down at ULL that I was pitching an elimination game. I won't let it bother me Tuesday," he stated. "The crowd, the setting, it won't affect me.

"I just have to go out there relaxed and pitch my game. I will tune out everything but getting the batter out."

Turns out, Trent did what he said he would do and some. He was dealing.

Christian got in a couple of mild jams, but it seemed that is when he was at his best, snuffing out the Red Raiders methodically.

In all, he pitched eight shutout innings, allowing six hits while fanning six and walking only one on 115 pitches. A masterpiece.

"All three of my pitches were working today. Usually it takes me a couple of innings to get my fastball going, but it was there all day and so was my change and slider," said Trent, as calm afterwards as he was on the mound.

Coach Mike Bianco was not short of praise for Trent.

"I had no concerns about Christian having any jitters or being on a big stage. He was terrific last week against ULL and he was terrific again today," Bianco noted. "He had good stuff from start to finish. Texas Tech got a few hits off him, but when they did he seemed to make the pitch he needed every time to get them out."

Trent left with the Rebs holding a slim 1-0 lead after a Holt Perdzock pinch hit single drove in Sikes Orvis.

Perdzock broke open the rubber game of the Super Regional at Lafayette with a bases-clearing triple, you will recall.

Righty Scott Weathersby took over in the ninth with the narow lead and gave up a run on a single, a pair of stolen bases and a pinch hit sac fly by 6-5 freshman Anthony Lyons.

In the bottom of the ninth, PH Colby Bortles walked and advanced to third on a throwing error on the Red Raider pitcher on a Brantley Bell shot up the middle.

A John Gatlin walkoff single ended it for the Rebels and preserved Trent's masterpiece.

Gatlin's heart was heavy due to his Grandmother passing away yesterday, but he stayed with his team.

"She would have killed me had I come home. This moment would have made her happy," said Gatlin. "She was definitely on my mind when I was headed to the batter's box. She was a part of this."

So the Rebels move on, thanks to Trent, Perdzock, Gatlin and others, but a question had to be asked of Bianco.

Is he concerned about the offense, that has netted just six hits in two games, or did the Rebs just face two outstanding pitching performances?

Bianco said a little of the former but mostly the latter.

"We haven't swung the bats great, we can do better, but we have faced two terrific pitchers," he answered. "We pitched well, played good defense and hung in there offensively until we could make something happen.

"Baseball is like that sometimes. Our kids did not panic. They were patient and finally made something happen. That happened at Lafayette. We didn't score much in the opener, then scored a few in the second game and finally exploded."

Mike also added a caveat about Red Raider starter Ryan Moseley, who went 7 1/3 innings and allowed only four hits and one unearned run.

"We knew he'd be good, but with all due respect, we didn't know he'd be that good," noted Bianco. "From the dugout, his fastball had so much downward movement on it that I thought it was a slider, but I would look up on the scoreboard and see 92 miles and hour and knew it was a heavy fastball with a lot of downward motion.

"We swung through more fastballs today than we have all year. The kid was tough. We can do better offensively, but we have faced two really tough guys to barrel up."

So the Rebs advance, and will face Tuesday night's loser of the Virginia-TCU match Thursday night at 7.

After two sterling pitching efforts by Chris Ellis and Trent, and not much production offensively, just enough to stay alive, the hope is that the bats will come to life to keep the Rebels advancing.

The number one offense in the SEC won't stay down long, the odds say.

Maybe, just maybe, it will be the bats next time around.

But certainly, for now, it was mostly Christian Trent, the eliminator of elimination games.

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