Scratch that talk of Chris Ellis starting on the hill for Ole Miss on Saturday. In a surprise move, Mike Bianco has chosen reliever Scott Weathersby to take the mound when the Rebs resume their rain-delayed game against Virginia at 2 p.m. CT, according to Aaron Fitt of Baseball America.
Virginia has elected to save their own ace, Nathan Kirby, for another day as well. They've announced that Josh Sborz, who threw just seven pitches in a start on Friday night, will retake the hill.
Weathersby will pick up where Jeremy Massie left off last night: with Virginia batting in the top of the second inning with men on first and second and no outs.
Pretty much everyone assumed it would be Ellis getting the nod. He was brilliant in Ole Miss's opening game loss to the Cavs, allowing just one run over six innings. There had been talk of him even starting on Friday night on four days rest, so when the game got pushed back and gave him another day of rest, it seemed a foregone conclusion he would get the ball in the resumption.
All 19 of Weathersby's appearances this season have been out of the bullpen. This is technically a relief appearance, but he's essentially starting an eight inning game. He's been fantastic out of the pen, going 4-1 with a 2.19 ERA. He gave up a run against Texas Tech in his only inning of work in Omaha.
If Ole Miss can win, that should set up a rematch between Ellis and Kirby on Sunday.
UPDATE: If push comes to shove, it looks like we could see Ellis on Saturday after all -- out of the pen.
Chris Ellis long tossing in the outfield like he does when he starts. Looks like we may see him very quickly today.— Keith Kessinger (@kkessinger62) June 21, 2014
Surely Ole Miss would prefer to avoid using Ellis in relief, as it would leave them without a reliable starter for Sunday (assuming Christian Trent can't go). But this is an elimination game, and you have to get to Sunday's game before you can play it.