Ellis goes distances, blanks Panthers

Chris Ellis held Georgia State to five hits in an Ole Miss victory Friday. (AP Photo/Oxford Eagle, Bruce Newman)

Chris Ellis held Georgia State to five hits in an Ole Miss victory Friday. (AP Photo/Oxford Eagle, Bruce Newman)

By Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

OXFORD – The weather has warmed a bit in a week, but Ole Miss right-hander Chris Ellis put the chill to what was a hot Georgia State offense last weekend.

The Panthers scored 28 runs in three games against their Big 10 season-opening foe, Illinois, and scored seven more Tuesday night.

Ellis, the Rebels’ junior right-hander pitched the first complete game of his career on Friday as the Rebels won 3-0. Ellis has now opened the season with 15 scoreless innings. He scattered five hits, all singles, and did not allow a runner to third base. He walked none and struck out four.

He threw 101 pitches.

“I was able to mix all three of my pitches in there, and when you can do that, it’s easier to get some ground balls,” Ellis said.

Rebels coach Mike Bianco said the strength with which Ellis finished the eighth – three straight outs after a leadoff hit – made it an easy choice to leave him in.

“He came up and asked me if I wanted to finish. I think we both knew the answer to that,” Ellis said.

Ole Miss collected seven hits, all singles, as it was a day for batting averages to dip on both sides.

Two- and three-hole hitters Auston Bousfield and Austin Anderson were both hitting better than .500 on the young season, but neither managed a hit.

Ole Miss (5-0) was warming up against starter Nathan Bates, a righty, but left-hander Garrett Ford settled things down for Georgia State (3-2). He gave up just one hit in 4.2 innings and ended the fourth and fifth innings with double-play balls.

The Rebels scored twice in the second. Sikes Orvis and Preston Overbey opened with back-to-back hits. They advanced on a perfect bunt by freshman J.B. Woodman and scored on a single to right field by Will Jamison.

Orvis scored on the hit, and Overbey scored when Jamison was caught trying to advance to second base.

Ole Miss had a chance to blow things open in the fourth but could get only one run out of a bases-loaded no-out situation, that coming when Braxton Lee was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Bianco didn’t hesitate to send Ellis out for the ninth.

“I didn’t say anything to him until the bottom of the eighth. A lot of times you can see it in their face. Most guys want to stay in, but you can kind of tell by their body language. At 88 pitches and watch his last at-bat in the eighth, you knew he could finish,” Bianco said.

parrish.alford@journalInc.com