Record-Setting Roth’s Start Was Moved Up To Saturday

Elmira’s Houston Roth holds up a game ball after striking out 20 Newark Pilots in Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League action Saturday night. Photo by Tyler Biedron, courtesy of Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League

Houston Roth was in town with the Elmira Pioneers on Sunday, less than 24 hours after setting a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League record with 20 strikeouts in a 2-0 complete-game win over the Newark Pilots.

Roth, a 6-foot-3 freshman right-hander from Ole Miss, pitched in 18 games for the Rebels this season but was used exclusively as a reliever. He was one of three Ole Miss players from the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class named to the Freshman All-American team. On Saturday, Roth threw 81 of his 111 pitches for strikes.

“I felt just as good in the ninth as I did in the first,” Roth said Sunday during a rain delay prior to the Pioneers’ game against the Jammers. “I think my stuff was just as good, maybe down a mile per hour or two.”

In three starts prior to Saturday night, Roth went five innings each time, earning a win, a loss and a no-decision. Two of those starts were against the Jammers, taking the loss in a 2-0 defeat June 18 after a no-decision in a 4-2 win on June 6.

“I can only do what I can do,” Roth said about maybe having higher expectations placed on him after Saturday’s record-setting start. “That outing helped me a lot. I feel good now and feel like I have all my stuff. I feel like it will help me going forward.”

Roth was supposed to throw against the Jammers for the third time this season Sunday, but was moved up a day after a teammate experienced a sore arm and had to have his start pushed back.

Throwing a perfect game into the seventh inning Saturday night, Newark’s Will Allocca doubled with two outs to also spoil the no-hitter. Roth got out of that inning with his league record-setting 16th strikeout of the night, breaking the record of former Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawg Joe Michaud, who struck out 15 against Glens Falls on June 29, 2012.

“I had all of my stuff. … I was getting ahead really well. My slider was finishing hitters off really well,” Roth said. “In the first three innings I had like eight strikeouts, so I knew it was getting up there.”

Roth struck out two more in the eighth inning before a leadoff strikeout in the ninth. The Pilots’ D’Marcus Guillory then singled for the second hit of the game before a one-out strikeout gave Roth 20 on the night. Elmira’s Josh Loeffler then flew out to right field to end the game.

The Oxford, Mississippi native hopes to start when he returns to school in the fall, and if his performance so far this summer is any indication, he’ll do a fine job against Southeastern Conference lineups next year.

“I don’t know what my role will be next year, but the plan was to come up here and get some starts,” Roth said.

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