OMAHA, Neb. (WCBI Sports) – John Gatlin was still smiling today about his walk-off hit in Tuesday’s walk-off win against Texas Tech.
Gatlin, a fifth-year senior, had gone through three surgeries and had just 29 at-bats prior to yesterday. He was an unlikely hero.
“Yeah that’s definitely the biggest moment in my career,” he said.
Gatlin’s career started at Tupelo High School and ICC. He received texts from many old friends and coaches from those teams after the game.
“(My phone) was blowing up. I still haven’t even gone through most of it,” he said.
But the conversation he was most looking forward to was the phone call back home.
“My dad answered the phone, he was crying,” Gatlin said. “He couldn’t talk. He said my mom had been crying and all my brothers were there crying. It was really special.”
Adding more weight to the moment was Gatlin’s grandmother, who had passed away just two days prior. He said he was thinking of her.
“Coach Godwin game up to me and said ‘I’m so sorry. Do you need to go home?’ I told him ‘that’s ridiculous, she’d kill me if I went home,’” Gatlin said.
Many of his teammates said they couldn’t be happier for him and that that kind of moment couldn’t have happened to a better guy.
Gatlin and the Rebels next face TCU in an elimination game Thursday at 7 p.m.