Gatlin, Trent keep Rebels alive in Omaha
OMAHA, Neb. — Seconds after his game-winning hit, John Gatlin’s emotions got the best of him. Less than 24 hours after learning about the death of his grandmother, and two days after the Ole Miss lost 2-1 to Virginia, Gatlin kept the Rebels in the College World Series just a little bit longer.
Gatlin’s game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning not only broke a 1-1 tie with Texas Tech, it gave Ole Miss its first win in the CWS since 1969. Gatlin was emotional after the game, because for the first time since getting the news about his grandmother, the magnitude of the situation finally hit him.
“That’s the thing that is special about this team, we have so many guys that contribute in so many different ways. When the game is called upon like that, we’re each called upon for those situations and each one of us are prepared to get the job done,” Gatlin said. “It just goes back to the toughness that Coach (Mike) Bianco talks about all the time with us.”
The moment was especially sweet for Bianco because of what happened to Gatlin, but also because of what he means to the team. Since coming to Oxford from Itawamba Community College, Gatlin has dealt with three surgeries and struggled to gain playing time.
“One of the neat things in this profession is to be able to watch young men like John, who is a terrific, terrific representative of the university, have good things happen to them. It was neat to see him get a base hit to win it,” Bianco said.
Christian Trent didn’t get the win on the mound for the Rebels, but he pitched like normal, logging eight innings of work and not allowing a run, the biggest reason for Gatlin’s single make a difference.
Scott Weathersby ultimately improved to 4-1 on the year by working the ninth, and being the pitcher of record with the Rebels were able to rally. Ole Miss will now play either Virginia or Texas Christian Thursday night to see if they can advance at the CWS.
Here is a video interview with Gatlin, provided by our good friend, Brandon Speck.
For more on Tuesday’s win for the Rebels, see the print edition of the Daily Journal and check back for The Road to Omaha: Day 6.