The senior right-hander from Oak Grove High School in the Hattiesburg area started his first game ever at Ole Miss against Mississippi State in Pearl, this coming after 47 collegiate appearances, including 13 this year, out of the bullpen. The Rebels won the important game 11-1, and Weathersby went seven innings, allowing no runs on six hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
He threw 109 pitches in the contest and now awaits his arm and also the game situation to see if he relieves tonight or tomorrow or starts Sunday in the Rebels’ weekend series at Missouri. Or even relieves on Sunday. It all just depends.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Rebels’ Sunday starter was “to be announced” later. Weathersby’s bounce back was a part of that equation.
“It’s been years since I’ve thrown that much,” Weathersby said as the team was about to head to Columbia, Mo. “We’ll see how my arm bounces back. Hopefully I can contribute this weekend and help our team win a series that we really need to win on the road.”
Ole Miss is now 24-22 overall and 10-11 in Southeastern Conference play. Missouri is 26-19 and 12-9.
Both want to make sure they take the next step after the regular season, and that is to make the 12-team (of 14) at Hoover, Ala., for the SEC Tournament. This weekend is big for both to do that.
For the Rebels, all their SEC games are in Oxford after this weekend. That’s three games against Mississippi State and three games against Texas A&M.
Weathersby has been working since Tuesday night to get back. He’s been such a valuable part of this season and last season for the Rebel pitching staff. He’s been as dependable as anyone that’s pitched this year.
“It hasn’t been bad. I flushed (Wednesday) and it went to about 150 feet,” he said of his recovery from the lengthy outing. “I worked out earlier and did the elliptical for 15 minutes. I’m sure I’ll run again (Thursday) night to try to flush that acid out of my body. It really hasn’t’ been bad. I’ll play a little light catch at Missouri (Thursday night). We’ll see how it goes. It will just be how soon I can get back.”
“It was an awesome time and a good win for our team,” he said of the victory over MSU. “The way we’ve been swinging the bats the last two weeks has been awesome. Our pitching’s coming around.”
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco agreed it’s wait and see on how Weathersby is and when he can pitch to be effective.
“He felt alright (Wednesday). The question I guess is ‘Will he start this weekend?’ The answer is we don’t know yet,” he said. “We’ll see how he feels. And there’s always the chance to use him in relief. If we need him and he’s available and we need him to win the game, then we would use him. That’s why the TBA, so we’ll wait and see.”
Bianco also said the hitting has become more consistently good for his team as the calendar turns to May.
“This is the best we’ve swung it for six games now throughout the lineup,” he said. “Collectively it’s the best we’ve done all year.”
One player whose production has lifted the team has been leadoff hitter Connor Cloyd. The transfer’s batting average is a sensational .429 and he’s been in 31 games with 19 starts.
“I’ve just been locked in at the plate and seeing the ball well," Cloyd said. "Just doing what the team needs me to do. I’ve been grateful for the opportunity and tried to do the best I could. I knew I had to perform to stay in the lineup. The team has really helped me. It’s been a great month. It’s great to see the whole team being successful.”
Veteran senior Sikes Orvis said the Rebels are excited about the position they are currently in and are ready to make some noise the rest of the way.
“I think our best baseball’s ahead of us," Orvis said. "A lot of young guys were playing early, and a lot was being asked of them. We’re all finally starting to get that confidence and we’re showing that if we have that consistency we can play with anybody. We’re playing good baseball right now.”
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