Needing one win to guarantee a .500 record for SEC play, the Rebels have a good shot tonight with Bobby Wahl.
The sophomore right-hander has given the Rebels a chance in most SEC Game 1s with a 6-1 record, a 2.18 ERA, which ranks second in the SEC.
More recently, Wahl has been able to get deeper into games. Arm soreness limited Wahl to four innings at Kentucky, a week after he'd gone eight innings with no runs and two hits allowed against Florida. Following the Kentucky game – no decision for Wahl and a loss for Ole Miss – Georgia got his pitch count up early. It was more about just not pitching well and not about arm soreness in Athens, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. He left after 105 pitches and 4.1 innings. The end result was another no-decision for Wahl, loss for Ole Miss.
Following the Georgia start, Wahl was pitching well at home against Arkansas when rain began and forced a suspended game.
Wahl went six innings against Mississippi State but lost against Chris Stratton – his only loss of the season – and has gone seven innings the last two weeks. There was a no-decision in a 13-inning loss to LSU and a win against Tennessee.
“I think the biggest thing is throwing more strikes. I've been doing all the extra stuff with Tony Barnett, our trainer, and strengthening my shoulder and arm, doing all that. That allows me to get deeper into games,” Wahl said.
Bianco is glad to see Wahl get deeper into games and wants to keep him on the mound as long as possible.
With seven innings from Wahl against Tennessee and a very efficient two-inning outing by RJ Hively to get the save, Hively was fresh and ready to start the Sunday game against the Vols. It was the first time the pitching plan has worked that way since Bianco moved Hively from the rotation to the bullpen for the Arkansas series.
“We have confidence in our bullpen with Hively, (Brett) Huber and a lot of other guys from (Chris) Ellis to (Aaron) Greenwood, (Hawting) Buchanan, they've all pitched really well at times, but the longer you can keep your ace in, the better off you are,” Bianco said.