Open Season

Drew Pomeranz will start on the mound today for the Rebels. Aaron Barrett gets the baseball Saturday. On Sunday, Rebel fans will get a look at someone they haven't seen before.

Trent Rothlin is well traveled on his road to Oxford. The Hickory, N.C., native pitched for Clemson his first year in college. After leaving the Tigers, he was on the Walters State Community College team in Morristown, Tenn.

Now he's at Ole Miss, and it's a fresh start for the 6-foot-1, 183-pound right-handed junior. Rothlin is looking forward to finally reaching his goal of being a successful Division I pitcher.

"I'm excited about it," he said of the Sunday start. "It will be my first one since my freshman year at a bigtime school. So I'm just really looking forward to it."

Rothlin, who had limited success at Clemson before having a solid season at Walters, knew he was being recruited by Ole Miss to be one of the weekend guys.

"They told me coming in I'd be some kind of a weekend rotation guy," he said. "I didn't know if it would be as a starter or in relief. I'm just excited about the opportunity."

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said Rothlin has to this point done what they expected him to do.

"The expectations all along were that he was brought in to be a weekend guy," Bianco said. "It doesn't always end up that way. He's done nothing to take away from that. (Fans) probably haven't heard a lot of talk about him, but part of that was he only threw a couple of weeks in the fall. The intrasquads he did throw he was pretty impressive."

A bout with mono meant Rothlin couldn't pitch in the early fall session. He's 100 percent now.

"I started getting back into it about the last two or three weeks of the fall," he said. "I began to feel like I did before I was sick. So I'm good to go."

Rothlin started two games as a freshman for the Tigers. One of them was again a Southeastern Conference school.

"I had two starts there," he said. "One was against Elon and one was against Georgia. So I got thrown into the fire a little bit. It went well (against Georgia). I pitched like four innings and gave up just two hits."

But he admitted, smiling, "They were both home runs."

Rothlin said the past is past, and he's eager to help his new team win games.

"The main reason I left and went to junior college was to not have to sit out a year, and I'd be ready to go this year," he said. "I'm looking forward to Sunday."

Rothlin, 7-1 at WSCC, said he believes he will pick right up where he left of at juco, and that's pitching well and winning games.

"I just have to make pitches and get outs," he said. "I've done it all my life."


FRIDAY, 3:00 P.M.

ULM - Drew Granier, Jr., RHP

OM - Drew Pomeranz, Jr., LHP

Pomeranz enters the season as the Friday night starter after a successful sophomore campaign. The left-hander posted an 8-4 record with a 3.40 ERA and turned in two complete-game victories. He struck out a career-high 16 against Western Kentucky in the NCAA Oxford Regional and tallied 124 strikeouts on the season, bringing his career total to 205 strikeouts. The southpaw is a perseason All-America selection and has been named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List.


ULM - Josh Miller, Sr., RHP

OM - Aaron Barrett, Sr., RHP

Barrett returns to the starting lineup in 2010 as the Saturday starter after serving in the weekend rotation as a junior to start the 2009 season. The right-hander made 14 appearances, including four starts, a year ago and posted an 0-1 record with the lone loss coming against TCU in Oxford. He worked 30.0 total innings and struck out 33 batters while walking only 13 on the year.

SUNDAY, 1:30 P.M.

ULM - Cory Brown, Sr., RHP

OM - Trent Rothlin, Jr., RHP

Junior college transfer Trent Rothlin opens the season as the Sunday starter for the Rebels after a freshman season at Clemson and a solid sophomore season at Walters State Community College. The transfer posted a 7-1 record last season at Walters State with a 4.32 ERA as he made 13 appearances on the year. He struck out 65 batters in 58.1 innings of work and walked only 29 batters on the season.


*** For the sixth straight season Ole Miss opened the year ranked in the preseason polls. Currently, the Rebels are ranked as high as 17th (Baseball America) and appear in the top 25 of all of the major college baseball polls.

*** The Rebels have posted a perfect record on opening day under head coach Mike Bianco. The Rebels are 9-0 in opening day games going back to the 2001 season. The streak doesn't end there, as Ole Miss has won 28 season openers in a row. The Rebels last dropped the first game of the season in 1981 when Ole Miss fell to Livingston 8-6.

*** Louisiana-Monroe is coming off its best back-to-back seasons since 2000 and 2001. Two years ago ULM won the regular season Sun Belt Conference Championship and last season the Warhawks advanced to the championship game of the Sun Belt Tournament, where a win would have advanced them to the school's first NCAA trip since 2000.

*** Leading the offensive charge for the Warhawks will be 2009 Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year and 2010 preseason all-Sun Belt selection Boomer Blanchard. The senior moves to shortstop this season after earning all-Sun Belt honors last year at second base. Blanchard batted .351 with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs a season ago in putting together quite an impressive first season at ULM. He finished second in school history in hits (87), third in runs scored (71) and seventh in total bases (137).

*** The Warhawks also return three other senior starters from a year ago in third baseman Nick Wade, center fielder Matt Laird and right fielder Perry Smith.

*** Wade turned in a career year in 2009 finishing with career highs for batting average (.342), doubles (12) and home runs (9). He is also one of the top defensive third basemen in the country having committed just a combined 10 errors at the hot corner the past two seasons.

*** Laird will be looked at to be one of ULM's big bats in the lineup this season after hitting 10 home runs last season and 19 for his career. Smith set the Sun Belt Conference Tournament record last year blasting six doubles in ULM's run to the title game. He finished the season with a .365 average overall, but did his real damage against league foes. Smith batted .400 during the regular season in league games and then hit .522 with a .922 slugging percentage in the Sun Belt Tournament.

(UM and ULM athletics media relations contributed to this story.)

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