Rebels add LHP Matt Crouse

The Rebels were looking to add some depth and possibly a weekend pitcher for next year's team when they added the 6' 5", 185 LHP out of Young Harris community college.

Matt Crouse is a guy we expect to come in here and compete for a spot immediately and help our already strong pitching staff,” said Ole Miss recruiting coordinator and assistant coach Rob Reinstetle to the SID. “He throws his fastball in the upper 80s and has a good breaking ball and a great change-up. He is very projectable with his body size, and we think that he will only throw harder with time.”

The former Virginia prep star landed at Young Harris college after a stellar high school career. He posted a 6-2 record with a 1.73 ERA and had 81 strikeouts in 56.2 innings of work his junior season and was 7-2 with a 2.00 ERA with 86 k's in 50 innings of work his senior season.

The Washington Post named him to their 1st Team All-Metro selection in 2007 and 2nd Team selectin in 2008.

Crouse took his game to Young Harris CC this fall and became their "Friday night" pitcher and is currently 6 - 1 with a 3.49 ERA, 60 k's, and 31 walks in around 50 innings of work.

"I am having a pretty good season and doing really well," added Matt Crouse. "We start the playoffs this week, and I am really looking forward to it."

The former Battlefield High star brings an aggressive approach to the mound.

"I pretty much like to go right after people and challenge them with my fastball, and then I use my breaking (curve) ball and change up when I get ahead (in the count). I like to use the fastball to get ahead, and I would probably say my curveball (12 to 6 break on curve ball) is my out pitch."

Matt has averaged almost 1.5 strikeouts per inning over his career, but he is also giving up around 4 walks per 9 innings. The control issue is being worked on.

"I am just trying to go right after the batters now. I had some control issues early, but I have been working on it, and it is getting better now. The direction with my stride was off. I was throwing accross my body a little bit, but I am working on getting my body finishing towards the plate."

The technique correction has added some velocity to his fastball.

"Earlier in the year, my velocity was down a little bit, but since we have fixed that, it has jumped back up to the upper 80's. Last weekend, I was touching 87-89 regularly and topped out at 92 MPH. I feel much better about my mechanics now."

How Crouse ended up at Ole Miss is an interesting story.

"Coach Rob (Reinstetle) came to see our summer league team (Virginia Cardinals) play. We had Matt and Mike Snyder on our team, so I kind of caught their eye when they were out there to scout them. I started talking to Ole Miss back in the fall. I told Coach Robinson (at Young Harris CC) that I wanted to leave a year early, and he sent out some tapes on me. I was talking to Ole Miss, Florida, and North Carolina State a lot, but I went on my official visit to Ole Miss in December and liked it so much that I committed two days later."

The Snyder twins also played a role.

"We are real good friends, and I talked to them before I went on my (official) visit. They said I would love it, and the coaches were straight forward. I sat down with Coach Bianco for about 45 minutes on my visit, and we went over the program. I liked a lot of things about the school, and their academics, but I also liked how they want to use me next year. They want me to come in and compete for a spot. That is why they brought me in as a sophomore because I have some experience, but I still have three years left."

What might surprise some around this region is the reputation that Ole Miss has in other parts of the country.

"It is just an awesome feeling. Ever since I started playing baseball, I wanted to play in the SEC, and Ole Miss is a powerhouse program that I have wanted to play for my whole life. I remember watching Ole Miss play Texas when I was in junior high and thinking about how neat it would be to play down there. Now they have the best stadium in the country with the best fans in the country. Pretty much everyone from around here would dream to play for Ole Miss. I am getting to live out my dream. I couldn't be anymore happy with how things turned out. Now I just want to make sure that I am in the best shape of my life when I report there this summer so I can be ready to compete agains the best players in the country."

To view the signees from this year's class, click here.

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