By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
Trying to climb in the SEC standings, Ole Miss would like to see a surge in its offense.
What may be blossoming as the second half of SEC play begins is help for the pitching.
Hawtin Buchanan and Jacob Waguespack, two guys who were expected to fill key roles this season, had successful outings during the week and appear ready to add depth to the staff.
The Rebels (26-12, 7-8 SEC) have scored one run or been shut out in eight of their last 15 game, a fact that did not apply to any of last weekend’s games when Ole Miss swept Alabama.
The Rebels are hoping their climb in the SEC continues this weekend at Tennessee even after a disappointing couple of non-conference losses during the week.
Game times at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville are 5 p.m. today, 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
Ole Miss scored just one run in 18 innings losing 4-0 against Memphis at AutoZone Park in Memphis, 2-1 against Southern Miss at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
The Memphis game was a make-up, and those two games were the end of a stretch of five games in five days.
“Obviously we were disappointed with the two midweek games, but we got our legs back under us yesterday,” Buchanan said Thursday morning. “After sweeping Alabama we’re excited to go on the road for this big series to try to move up in the SEC standings and get back in the hunt.”
Tennessee is just 5-10 in the league but is coming off a series win at Kentucky. The Vols defeated Virginia Tech 5-4 in the Hokie-Smokey Classic Tuesday night, their third-straight win.
While runs are scarce Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco would like to increase pitching and defense.
Buchanan, a sophomore, and Waguespack a freshman, may be ready to help. Both expected to have more innings by now but have been held back by tendinitis.
Waguespack, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, allowed a hit but no walks in 2.0 innings against Memphis.
Buchanan, a 6-9 right-hander who pitched 20.1 innings with a 3.98 ERA last year, allowed a hit but nothing else in 12⁄3 innings against Southern Miss. He struck out three, and his velocity touched 94.
“With me and Waguespack it adds more capable arms to avoid having to throw guys out of the pen on back-to-back days,” Buchanan said.