The projected third starter for the Ole Miss Rebels this season, Ellis pitched the Sunday game against TCU but hasn’t seen action since. A lingering abdominal muscle strain has been slow to recover.
“I’ve been easing back into, trying to take it slow,” Ellis said. “Coach (Bianco) wants me to take it slow.”
Ellis said there’s been steady progress, but it’s taken a while for him to apparently be ready to pitch at least some again.
“My first pen I was kind of hesitant. I wasn’t for sure what to expect,” he said. “But (Tuesday) I threw and felt 100 percent and really tested it out.
“Honestly I feel like I’m ready to go back out there. Everything feels great and ready to go.”
Bianco said it’s good to see Ellis making progress, and his return will only strengthen the pitching staff.
"He threw a bullpen on Sunday. Twenty-five pitches and felt good. Tuesday threw twenty-five pitches, sat down, then threw twenty-five more pitches. You could tell he's starting to feel good and more confident. Threw the ball with a little zip on it Tuesday. Woke up Wednesday morning with no pain. He'll throw a little more off the mound Thursday and see. It would have to be the right situation that he could get in (this weekend)."
Ellis said it’s not the first six weeks to the season he could have predicted.
“It’s tough. I pitched the first week and then had to sit out the rest of the time. But it’s not a bad thing to be able to cheer on your teammates, especially as we keep winning,” he said.
And he’s been impressed with the man who has been pitching in that Sunday role since the TCU series ended, Sam Smith.
“Sam’s doing a great job. We have guys that are throwing great right now,” Ellis said.
Ellis won’t draw a start this weekend but is hopeful of getting in for a brief time soon.
“It looks like I’ll throw an inning or two in relief, hopefully,” Ellis said.
But that might come this weekend or might not come until next midweek against Arkansas State.
Ole Miss-Texas A&M quick hitters from Ole Miss sports information:
No. 6 Ole Miss (20-2, 2-1 SEC) vs. Texas A&M (15-7, 3-0 SEC)
Times: 6:30 p.m. Friday; 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 1:30 p.m. Sunday: Grass
Series: Texas A&M leads 3-2
In Oxford: First Meeting
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
Television: ESPNU (Saturday)
Announcers: Mike Morgan & Kyle Peterson
• Ole Miss stayed put in the top 10 of all five of the national polls following a 4-1 week and a series at #11 Arkansas this past weekend. The Rebels are ranked as high as No. 6 (Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball) and are ranked 8th in the remaining three polls (Perfect Game, USAToday, NCBWA).
• The Rebels won the series at #11 Arkansas with a 7-1 win on Friday night and a 6-4 win Sunday in 13 innings.
• With the Friday night win, Ole Miss posted a 19-1 start to the season to mark the best start in school history. It bested 18-2 starts through 20 games in 1960, 1964 and 2004.
• Junior IF Preston Overbey hit his first career grand slam on Friday night to help Ole Miss past Arkansas 7-1.
• Senior RHP Tanner Bailey turned in a career performance on Sunday at Arkansas, working a career-long 5.1 innings and striking out a career-high nine batters with no walks and scattering five hits in the scoreless outing.
• Rebel relivers who have seen more than 5.0 IP have combined for 94 strikeouts and 21 ER allowed in 85.0 IP.
• Junior SS Austin Anderson has only one strikeout through 83 plate appearances and ranks first nationally.
• Junior C Stuart Turner is 4th nationally and tops in the SEC with a .474 batting average through 22 games.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY, 6:30 PM
TAMU - Kyle Martin, Sr., RHP
Ole Miss - Bobby Wahl, Jr., RHP
• Wahl carries a 5-0 record into this weekend matchup and will make his sixth start of the season on Friday night.
• The junior is coming off back-to-back quality starts and has allowed one run or less in four of five starts this year.
• Wahl is coming off an SEC-opening win at #11 Arkansas, allowing one run through 7.0 IP with 5BB and 5K.
• The right-hander holds a team-leading 27 strikeouts and is limiting opponents to a .194 batting average.
• Ranks in the top 10 in the SEC in ERA (8th) and Wins (T1st), and is 11th in Opposing Batting Average.
SATURDAY, 7:30 PM (ESPNU)
TAMU - Daniel Mengdon, Soph., RHP
Ole Miss - Mike Mayers, Jr., RHP
• Mayers makes his sixth start of the year when he takes the mound on Saturday with a 2-1 record this season.
• It will be the second time facing Texas A&M in his career after making the start in the NCAA Regional in 2012 against the Aggies.
• In the start at A&M, a 6-3 Rebel win, Mayers struck out nine and allowed two earned runs in 6.1 IP.
• Mayers has struck out 25 and walked 11 through 29.0 innings of work this season with three quality starts.
SUNDAY, 1:30 PM
TAMU - TBA
Ole Miss - Sam Smith, Soph., RHP
• Smith makes his sixth start of the season and fifth Monday start when he takes the mound on Sunday.
• The right-hander took no decision at #11 Arkansas, but worked 5.0 IP with one run on three hits in the start.
• Turned in a quality start at FIU, working 6.0 IP with one unearned run and five strikeouts, scattering six hits.
• Smith has a 2-0 record with a 2.49 ERA, 13 strikeouts and six walks through 21.2 innings of work.
REBELS vs. TEXAS A&M
Ole Miss and Texas A&M have only faced off a handful of times in the history of the two programs with the Aggies holding a 3-2 lead in the all-time series. Besides a three-game set played in College Station in 1998, the two teams have otherwise only met in NCAA Regional competition. They have never faced off in Oxford until this weekend.
• Ole Miss won the first meeting between the two teams 17-3 to open the weekend series in 1998.
• The Rebels also won the last meeting between the two teams 6-3 in the 2012 NCAA Regional at Texas A&M.
• Ole Miss dropped the 1998 series at Texas A&M as the Aggies won the last two games 6-3 and 3-2 (10 Inn.).
• The Rebels also faced Texas A&M in an elimination game in the 1999 NCAA Regional, falling 13-7 at A&M.
ANALYZING TEXAS A&M
Texas A&M enters the weekend on a five-game win streak dating back to a midweek win over Houston Baptist last week. The Aggies then swept Georgia in the opening weekend of Southeastern Conference play and defeated Dallas Baptist on Tuesday night of this week.
• The Aggies hold a 15-7 record overall and are 3-0 in Southeastern Conference play.
• Infielder Mikey Reynolds leads Texas A&M with a .448 batting average and 17 runs scored this season.
• The Aggies are hitting .283 with five home runs, 95 RBI and have scored 104 runs through 22 games.
• Texas A&M pitchers hold a 2.83 ERA with 165 strikeouts and 69 walks, while allowing opponents to hit at a .234 clip this season.
• Friday starter Kyle Martin is 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA; He has struck out 30 with 26 walks through 30.2 IP and opponents are hitting at a .267 clip against him.
• Texas A&M’s Saturday starter Daniel Mengden is 3-1 on the season with a 1.82 ERA; He has 32 strikeouts with only five walks through 34.2 IP and is holding opponents to a .193 batting average.