By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
The return to the mound didn’t go as well as Chris Ellis had hoped, but he’s hoping a return to routine changes that.
The sophomore right-hander figured prominently into pitching plans for Ole Miss before an abdominal strain slowed his progress.
Ellis pitched through pain in the Sunday game against TCU on opening weekend and hadn’t pitched since before he was inserted into a tie game with men on base in Game 3 against Texas A&M.
He surrendered four runs on three hits and two walks in an inning of work and was the pitcher of record in a 10-5 loss.
He also touched 95 on the radar gun and will resume his regular role of Sunday starter for the Rebels this weekend at Florida.
Game times are tonight at 6 and then noon on Saturday and Sunday.
Ellis wasn’t surprised to be thrust into such a difficult situation in his first appearance in five weeks.
“After the first game Coach (Mike) Bianco told me to expect to go in and pitch. It was something I wanted, even though it ended up not working out the best, being a competitor and everything,” Ellis said.
Prior to the Texas A&M series Bianco spoke of bringing Ellis along more slowly.
“Before he’s ready to start on Sunday we’ve got to get his pitch count up,” Bianco said last week.
Ellis faced nine batters in his inning against the Aggies.
The best news was that he came out of that stint feeling really good physically.
“I’m kind of a second-day sore guy, but I wasn’t sore at all. I felt like a million bucks,” he said. “You can throw bullpens and throw off the mound, but it’s not the same as throwing in games.”
Ellis, a native of Birmingham, was 4-0 with a 2.84 earned run average in 32.1 innings over 19 appearances as a freshman. He developed a change-up that he’s become more comfortable with in the off-season.
Florida begins the series 11-14 overall, 2-4 in the SEC. The Gators are hitting .265 and pitching with a 4.62 team ERA.