As the Rebels broke huddle following Wednesday's win over Arkansas-Little Rock, Jeremy Travis was signaled to speak with the media.
The junior strolled over smiling and deflecting jokes from his teammates. The entire scene was a welcomed occurrence for Travis. Especially since he didn't even know he was going to play when arriving at the ballpark.
Travis greeted the reporters with handshakes, and just as he began to speak, catcher Brett Basham teased once more by jumping on his shoulders before walking away. The JUCO transfer had made his first start, and he made the most of it.
Throwing his name into the conversation for playing time in Ole Miss' crowded outfield was Wednesday's end result for Travis. Making only his sixth appearance of the season, the Texas native responded to what has been a rare opportunity to this point.
"We have such a talented outfield," Travis said. "It is sometimes hard to get out there. I'm very fortunate to get some playing time and just tried to make the most of it."
Travis finished the night 2-for-3 with three RBI and a double. He also walked and lifted a sacrifice fly to complete his day offensively. Hitting in the eight-hole, quality at-bats defined his appearance.
"It is tough (to stay sharp) because you don't see a lot of live pitching at times," Travis said. "Being ready on the bench is what we are supposed to do. Coach harps on it all the time, everybody on our bench always works hard and could get a chance."
Travis said that players must stay sharp mentally, especially when the at-bats aren't coming frequently. He took Jordan Henry's position against the Trojans, but Henry, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Year won't sit for long. Meanwhile fellow outfielders Logan Power and Michael Guerrero have consistently been in the middle of the lineup.
Add to that Fuller Smith, a co-captain that recorded hits in seven straight plate appearances recently.
"Sometimes (it is frustrating), but you have guys like Jordan Henry, who could be 0-4 but gets started back with a chopper into the ground during the ninth inning," Travis said. "With his speed, something that simple might be game over. It is frustrating at times, but I am fortunate to be playing. Look at the positives."
Travis was serviceable defensively but was charged with an error that led to an unearned run during the second inning. UALR sliced a sinking line drive into right field, and Travis attempted to snag it with a sliding catch. Instead, the ball tipped off the end of his glove and rolled toward the wall.
"I was happy with everything except that error," Travis said. "That was upsetting, but I tried to shake it off and make the most of the rest of my chances. I was caught in between. I hesitated; it was sinking and going away from me. I messed up and didn't make the play."
However, a few innings later, Travis received a makeup opportunity. Nearly an exact replica come off a Trojan's bat, and the right fielder moved toward the line and executed the sliding catch, drawing cheers from the sparse attendance.
"I was able to redeem myself a little bit."
And possibly earn more playing time.
Along with the chance to be the center of his teammates' celebratory jokes more often.
"It was all really fun tonight," Travis said.
Travis Productive in First Start
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