Chase Rollin, 'A consummate Chippewa,' doing the little things for CMU
Chase Rollin could show up in SportsCenter's top 10 plays on any given weekend.
Patrolling left field every game, Rollin has made several highlight-reel catches, including a diving grab to take away an extra-base hit in a tight game against Ball State.
After playing a multitude of positions in his career at Central Michigan, Rollin appears to have settled into the everyday left fielder role.
His approach is simple.
"I always make the joke, like the outfield, dogs can play fetch," Rollin said. "You can throw a dog a ball and he can run and catch it at 20 yards. It's a simple game out there and it's as simple as me looking at the ball, taking myself to it and catching it."
In his five seasons, Rollin has committed just nine errors while splitting his career between infield and outfield duties. His career fielding percentage is .996.
"I don't know, in college baseball, how you quantify the best left fielders in the country," Bischel said. "There's probably not metrics to do that. But he's got to be one of the best in the country in that outfield. He's just remarkable out there."
He's also making an impact at the plate, hitting .252 with two home runs and 24 RBI. He had a key two-run single in the series opening win over Ball State, which pushed the team's lead in the conference to two games.
Not a game goes by where Rollin doesn't make his presence felt. In the series with Miami (Ohio) he used his glove. In the series finale May 2, he made a perfect throw to cut down a runner trying to take an extra base and later made a spectacular grab in left-center field near the wall to take away extra bases.
As a fifth-year junior due to a redshirt and the COVID-19 Pandemic, Rollin is showing his value through the details. Whether it be bunting for hits or diving catches, his value shows itself.
The name Rollin is not unfamiliar to CMU baseball. Hailing from Beal City, just 13 miles from Theunissen Stadium, Rollin has plenty of ties to the program. His brother, Ty, played for the Chippewas from 2016-19. His father, James, also played for the Chippewas.
Now, it's Chase's turn. And he's making the most of it.
"It brings you into it more, you think about the history," Rollin said of having family come through the program. "My dad was in my position in the early-90's with all of his friends that I grew up with were in that same spot and now my brother and I were here, and I'm still here, and I'm with the guys that I know I'll spend the rest of my life being best friends with."
As a redshirt freshman, Rollin made 17 starts and played in 38 games. His sophomore season saw a bump, in which he started 53 games and hit .262 with 26 RBI. The 2020 season, which was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, saw him break out to the tune of a .302 average.
Rollin was named MAC West Player of the Week after he hit .400 in the 2020 season opening series against UNLV.
Not bad for someone who, at a point in his redshirt freshman year, was traveling only to be the bullpen catcher.
"After that, you kinda swallow your pride a little bit, just accept whatever role you're given," Rollin said.
Rollin went from a walk-on afterthought to starting in left field over the course of three seasons. His grit and perseverance have been tested, but he's overcome the odds. Now, he's contributing and helping lead the team in their pursuit of a championship.
"Chase is kind of a consummate Chippewa," coach Jordan Bischel said. ""He redshirted his freshman year, played a little bit the following year. He's just worked his way into a key role for us."