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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BLOG: Rebels’ Ellis eager to return to mound

OMAHA, Neb.Chris Ellis‘ last outing didn’t go so well. Ole Miss’ ace is just glad he’s getting another chance.

The junior right-hander lasted just 2.1 innings in the Rebels’ loss to Louisiana-Lafayette in Game 1 of the Lafayette Super Regional last Saturday. Ellis gave up five runs (four earned) with most of his issues stemming from an uncharacteristic lack of command. Ellis had issued just 32 walks in 104.1 innings before that game but handed out three free passes before being pulled.

It would’ve been a sour ending to a breakout season for Ellis — and possibly his career — had the Rebels (46-19) not pulled off victories in back-to-back elimination games to win the super regional. Instead, Ellis will throw Ole Miss’ first pitch in the College World Series when the Rebels take on Virginia (49-14) at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on Sunday at 7 p.m. (ESPN2).

“I didn’t want that to possibly be the last time I pitched in an Ole Miss uniform, so it’s going to be awesome to have another shot, especially on national TV in the College World Series against the best teams in the country,” said Ellis, who will have a decision to make once Ole Miss is done in Omaha after being taken in the third round of last week’s MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Anaheim Angels.

Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said during the middle of the week that he wanted to wait until he got the full scouting report on the Cavaliers until making a decision between Ellis and left-hander Christian Trent. Bianco announced during a press conference in Omaha on Friday that Ellis would get the ball.

Bianco said part of delaying the decision was to make sure Ellis was fully recovered after he threw in the bullpen before the ninth inning of Monday’s super regional-clinching win in case he was needed. But the Rebels’ coach ultimately wanted to stick with what’s gotten them here.

“He’s been our ace,” Bianco said. “He’s been our ace all year long, and I just thought it didn’t make sense to rearrange the rotation for that. Just keep them in their normal rest.”

Ellis, who’s 10-2 with a 2.45 earned run average in his first season as Ole Miss’ No. 1 starter, will only be able to go off of what the scouting report tells him about Virginia, a team the Rebels last played with an entirely different roster in 2009. But he knows what he needs to do to makes things a little easier on himself.

“Throw strikes,” Ellis said. (June 14, 2014)

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