Against the Panthers, he threw a complete game.
Ellis, an Ole Miss junior, said he wanted to stay in the game.
“It really wasn’t until I finished the eighth that Coach (Mike Bianco) came up to me and wanted to know if I wanted to finish,” he said. “Of course, the competitor in me wanted to.”
And so he did. Ellis went nine innings allowing five hits and no other base runners. He struck out four.
He thought early on it might not go as it did.
“They came out ready to swing the bats, and that kind of jarred me a little at first,” Ellis said of GSU. “But we got a lead and it’s easier to pitch with that. I let the defense work behind me.”
The game was played in an hour and 57 minutes. A lot of that was due to Ellis’ effort.
“I was able to mix all three pitches in there,” he said. “So when you can do that, it’s easier to get ground balls and move the game along.”
Bianco said Ellis was at his best.
“Chris was terrific. He did a great job mixing balls in and out,” he said. “In 13-plus years here, not too many complete games. I thought tonight he was excellent. They’re a good offense. Georgia State was ranked in the top five last year in hitting and also in runs scored. They still got good swings off even tonight, as good as Chris was.”
Ole Miss managed only three runs on seven hits and four walks against two Panther pitchers. The Rebels struck out just three times. GSU starter Nathan Bates (0-1) got the loss.
In the Rebel second, back to back singles to center field by Sikes Orvis and Preston Overbey were followed by a sac bunt from J.B. Woodman. Will Jamison singled to right to score Orvis. Jamison tried to advance to second but was tagged out. However Overbey came home on the throw for a 2-0 Rebel lead.
Errol Robinson drew a two-out, four-pitch walk, followed by a Braxton Lee single to put runners on first and second. Auston Bousfield grounded out to first to leave things as they were.
To open the fourth, back to back singles from Overbey and Woodman were followed by a strikeout by Jamison. Errol Robinson was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Panther right-handed starter Nathan Bates’ day was done.
Left-hander Garrett Ford came in and walked Lee to push the Ole Miss lead to 3-0. Bousfield then grounded to the shortstop who threw to the second baseman and on to first to get the double play and end any more damage by the Rebels.
Will Allen beat out a throw from deep in the hole by the shortstop to reach first with one out in the fifth. Orvis walked but Overbey hit into a double play to end the frame. And the Rebels could get nothing else across in this one.
Bianco said Ellis’ performances to date have likely been confidence builders for his first-game starter.
“I think he feels good after this outing. To come out today in front of your home crowd and with another great student section and to pitch this way against what I consider a very good offense, he was good.”
Overbey said watching Ellis work made things enjoyable for the defenders.
“He was lights out today,” he said. “It’s fun to play defense behind a guy like that.”
Ellis said he felt good throughout.
“My arm felt good,” he said, with the stadium gun still showing him at 90 mph late. “I’ve been conditioning this all fall and spring with bullpens. It wasn’t hard, especially if you get ground balls and not too deep into pitch counts.”
His last complete game, Ellis was asked in the postgame? He couldn’t recall.
“Maybe when I was little?”
Ole Miss and Georgia State play game two of the three-game series Saturday at 1:30 p.m.