Sam Smith will be the Rebels’ Sunday starter this week against Vanderbilt, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco told us yesterday.
Smith had been the Game 3 starter in place of Chris Ellis while Ellis was out injured with an abdominal strain.
Prior to the Texas A&M series Bianco said it would take some time before Ellis – who Bianco believes is one of the staff’s more talented pitchers – could resume his role as the starter. Bianco saw something somewhere that caused him to move up that timetable, and Ellis started at Florida but lacked control.
He gave up four hits, four runs – three earned – and four walks in 2.1 innings.
“Physically Chris is fine. He has another outing, and the abdomen seems to be fine. The arm, you see the velocity, it’s there. There were just too many walks. You can’t walk four or five guys in any outing,” Bianco said. “We hurt him in the first (defensively). That’s not the way you draw it up in the first SEC start. If we catch it better, let him get his feet on the ground … He came out the next two innings in innings two and three and walked the leadoff guy. You can’t do that in this league and be successful.”
Bianco said Ellis needs to improve on both his mechanics and his mental approach right now.
“Whatever it is we’ve got to figure it out. You can’t go out there and walk people.”
Smith is 2-0 with a 3.51 ERA. He has seven walks in 25.2 innings compared to Ellis’ nine walks in 7.1 innings.