After moving Scott Weathersby to the pen last week against Mizzou, Ole Miss won just its second SEC Game 3 of the season (they were previously 1-6) and have a good shot to make it a third on Saturday against Mississippi State. On the other hand, taking one of the most reliable relief arms out of the mix has exposed the lack of depth of the bullpen, something that was glaringly obvious as the Rebels struggled to maintain a big lead in an eventual 13-10 win over the Bulldogs on Friday night. Up by 8 runs at one point, Ole Miss ended up having to burn both Jacob Waguespack and Wyatt Short.
Not that Brady Bramlett's start was much better -- he gave up six earned runs off nine hits through six innings. But thanks to a big night from the offense, he left with a 13-6 lead. Sikes Orvis and J.B. Woodman both went yard in a 6-run first inning and the Rebs dropped a 5-spot in sixth.
At that point you're thinking, "Sweet! I'll be able to take off a couple innings early to beat the traffic on the Square and we'll have Weathersby, Wags AND Short going for the sweep tomorrow!" Nope.
Mitchel Babb and Will Stokes gave up four runs without recording a single out in the seventh, forcing Mike Bianco to insert Wags, who himself looked a bit shaky over two innings of work. He only let one run cross the plate (though you can thank some atrocious base running by State and a lucky at-em line drive for keeping another two runs off the board), but he allowed three of his eight batters to reach base and had to escape a one-out, man-on-third jam in the eighth. If this Weathersby experiment is going to work, Wags has to be more consistent come tournament play.
With State having piled on six runs in the span of two innings and with Wags nearing 40 pitches, Bianco had no real choice but to put Short in for the ninth. Short, of course, shut things down to notch his second save in as many nights.
I know, I know, I'm nitpicking. At the end of the day, Ole Miss picked up a must-have series win over an arch rival and managed to keep Weathersby available for the Saturday start. But if the Rebs end up making the NCAA Tourney (all they need to do now is win two of the final five games), they'll have to find another reliable arm in the pen.