Pearson played 90 minutes and provided the Tykes with one of their few bright spots in an otherwise dismal outing when he forced a diving save from Rochdale shot-stopper Josh Lillis with a powerful long-range strike in the 71st minute.
Rothwell started the contest, but was made a scapegoat for Barnsley's slow start – which saw them trailing 2-0 after 35 minutes – and was eventually replaced by Crowley at half-time while Pearson played a full 90 minutes in midfield.
The defeat has Lee Johnson's Tykes sitting 12th on the tier three table with two wins and a draw from three matches.
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