March 28, 2014
By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com
OXFORD, Miss. — In the words of Errol Robinson, it’s a fun ride, and he’s along for it. Such is life as a starting shortstop in the Southeastern Conference.
Robinson has played in two conference series, one on the road at No. 1 South Carolina and another at home against Missouri. That wasn’t his first taste of that type atmosphere, having taken a recruiting visit to Swayze Field last spring.
“I loved the place,” Robinson said. “Everything fit. I came here for the Mississippi State series and I saw the beer showers, the fans and the atmosphere, and I loved it. I felt like the team took me under their wing as a recruit. I loved it, every part of it.”
The Boyds, Md., native has played in 25 of the team’s 26 games, with 24 starts at shortstop. He is hitting at a .290 clip and has quickly become a fan favorite, from his dazzling defensive plays, to his subtle fist pumps after a base hit.
“He's an outstanding defender,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “He has to continue to improve offensively, but he's a kid who when you watch him as a shortstop and a true freshman with his range, his baseball awareness, and he's a terrific player who is going to have a long career.”
“I love these fans,” Robinson said. “I owe it all to them. They’re great for us, and we’re appreciative of them. We feed off of them. I love being able to interact with them and get them going. When it’s time to start a rally, get to first base and second base and fist pumps and get them loud. It’s part of my game.”
The emergence of Robinson has also allowed senior Austin Anderson, to move from shortstop to third base, and he is having a career year in his own right, hitting at a .364 clip with a team-leading 23 runs scored.
“I have learned quite a bit from him,” Robinson said. “He has a good head on his shoulders. He knows what he’s talking about. I have really enjoyed having him by my side. We definitely have one of the smoothest left sides of the infield in the country, so that’s a great asset to have.”
“He’s smooth and has good hands,” said Anderson of Robinson. “He looks natural out there. He fits the role.”
The first freshman to start at shortstop for the Rebels since Zack Cozart in 2005, Robinson said he first learned of that in a tweet from a fan, but he doesn’t think about it too much and remains more focused on learning from his mistakes and working through them to help the team.
“The speed of the game is the biggest adjustment, learning to slow things down,” he said. “I’m young, so I’m going to make those mistakes. I’m working through the problems that come up and really take it slow and turn to the older guys who have been here a while and learn from them.
“The game is hard. It’s game by game, and pitch and pitch. It’s working through the little things because the little things are what consume the game. It’s a game of failure. I know I’m going to fail. I know I’m going to make errors and not get hits every game. It’s something I’m going to work through and turn to older guys who have been there.”
Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller