Another Step

The good news for Ole Miss is that the Rebels moved to two games over .500 with their win against Mississippi State in Pearl Tuesday night.

There are more positives. The Rebels, who won 11-1 and are now 24-22 on the season, moved up to 32 in the RPI. The Bulldogs, 23-22, moved down to 103.

The potential bad news on the flip side? The Rebels have to play that over 100 RPI MSU team three more times in their last 10 regular season games. But the schedule is what it is. State hosts LSU this weekend.

The Rebels, however, will only worry about Missouri, with a 56 RPI currently, this weekend on the road before concerning themselves with MSU again.

Ole Miss is looking for better production from its starting pitchers outside of Christian Trent and Brady Bramlett. They found that Tuesday night in Scott Weathersby. He didn’t allow a run on six hits in seven innings of work with three strikeouts and a walk.

Will the fifth-year senior now move into the third-game weekend starter role? We’ll know before Sunday. If he doesn’t relieve either Friday or Saturday, he’s bound to get the start. They won’t go three games without Weathersby being a part of the action.

For now the Rebels bused home from metro Jackson with the largest win for either UM or MSU in 36 games of this Governor’s Cup, formerly known as the Mayor’s Trophy when it was played inside the city limits of Jackson at Smith-Wills Stadium. Since it moved to suburban Pearl's Trustmark Park, they’ve called it the Governor’s Cup.

A Rebel offense that has struggled much of the season has hit its stride lately. Ole Miss had 15 hits against the Bulldogs. They’re producing now and it’s coming from a lot of different people.

Connor Cloyd, now in the leadoff spot, went 3-for-6 with 4 RBI. Colby Bortles was 2-5 with a double and 2 RBI. Cameron Dishon was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. Austin Knight was 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI.

Will Golsan went 2-for-4. Sikes Orvis went 2-for-4 with a double. Kyle Watson, entering the game for Errol Robinson who had a stomach virus, got a hit and a RBI.

Weathersby cruised for the most part and got so much offensive help. The only time there was a Bulldog threat came with Ole Miss up 2-0 and MSU with the bases loaded in the third and one out. But Weathersby got a strikeout and a ground out to end the frame.

What did his offense do at that point? Put up five runs in the bottom of the third, and for all practical purposes MSU was done, down 7-0.

Weathersby had never started a game at Ole Miss. He had relieved 47 times prior, including 13 times this season.

“Certainly the reason Scott was chosen (to start) was we needed someone to get us out of the gate without giving up runs,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We’ve struggled with that some this season.”

Bianco said Weathersby has shown for a long time he can handle situations like the one that came his way in the third inning.

"One thing that’s great about having Scott is you have confidence he’s going to get out of it. He’s been in that situation before. And he’s the guy that’s always made the pitch to get out of it.”

Weathersby said he knew what his job was when he was named the starter for this game.

“Yesterday at practice, Coach (Bianco) came up to me and told me I was going to start,” said Weathersby, now 3-1 and who was named the game’s MVP. “He said if you can give us three (innings), give us three. If you can give us five, give us five. But to have the same mentality you have when you come out of the bullpen. Don’t try to save anything. We just want to stay in the game early, and that’s what I tried to do.”

“We hit some balls tonight,” Bianco said of the offense. “I thought our approach was really good early. I thought we were better and had some quality at-bats.”

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