The Battery

Christian Trent, the Rebels’ first-game ace all season after being the second-game starter last season, is getting back into a regular pitching routine today after not pitching in a game for a week.

And there will be another week before he pitches again, somewhere in a NCAA Regional for Ole Miss. Trent has been “staying in the game” since his last start, a Thursday night game against Texas A&M in Oxford eight days ago.

“Got to stay ready. Obviously being fresh will be good,” said Trent, who is 7-6 this season after a perfect 9-0 mark last year. “Just stay in the routine. I’ll throw a bullpen or something (today) to do something on a start day. Just try to stay in that routine.”

Last year was special for a lot of reasons. This year has been more of a challenge for the entire team, many of them new to the program.

Trent said he’s actually felt better this year throughout the course of the three to four months of the season than in 2014.

“Last year it was a struggle even early in the SEC season,” he said. “I remember I had to sit out my SEC Tournament start. But this year I’ve felt even better and everything’s been good.”

The fourth-year junior said the season of 30-26 and immediate exit from the Southeastern Conference Tournament wasn’t according to plan. But now they move on.

“It didn’t go how we wanted, but in reality this is where it matters,” Trent said of the postseason. “That’s past us now, and the Regional is coming up. That’s the most important thing.”

Trent said he draws upon last year’s May and June run to not only help and encourage the younger players through this time but also know how to handle things himself.

“Older guys having been there can kind of lead and let the younger guys know what they’re going to face. You have to be ready. This is what the whole season is for right here. We have to be ready to go.”

Knight Time

Austin Knight said they aren’t happy about being back at home since Tuesday night. But they have been able to rest up, heal up, and get prepared for that important tournament next weekend.

“It can kind of be a blessing in disguise,” he said of this week. “One thing is some guys who might be dealing with a few little things can get some rest before next week. And some things we need to address and work on before the Regional starts we can now do. So I think we can make it a good thing.”

Knight has caught in 44 games this season. The Rebels have played 56. He said a little break is welcomed as he recharges for the NCAA Tournament.

“Obviously I’m not going to complain about having some time off from catching,” he said. “But as a catcher and also a pitcher’s arm or really any player to get some time off and get their legs back under them is good.”

Knight said Trent appears ready to roll into the NCAA Tournament. Even with last season’s unblemished mark, he believes Trent is better this time this year than at this time last year.

“He’s pitched deep into pretty much every game, which is special, especially for a Friday night guy. I haven’t seen a dip in his stuff or hear him say anything about his arm being tired,” Knight said. “I don’t know if it was preseason training or what, but I believe down the stretch he has been better than he was (last season).”

Knight said it’s his last time around, and he wants to not only enjoy the remaining time himself but also for the younger players to know how fast this all comes and goes.

“First of all, you tell them this is the most fun part of the year,” he said. “We’re not in school. We’re just playing baseball. I think they understand it and I think they understand that this is it. I tell them they don’t realize how fast it all goes by. I believe there is a sense of urgency, and we want to go there and play our best baseball and win games.”

Last season they made it to the College World Series and finished third. While their record isn’t as good this season, the goal remains the same, according to Knight.

“You obviously want to go to Omaha every year,” he said. “I’m a senior, and we (seniors) have talked about it. We’re not going to be happy unless we get there again. We want to go to Omaha and win a national championship.”

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