Ole Miss’ lineup is suffering through a hell of slump right now—the Rebels have averaged one run per game over their last five contests and crossed home plate just once in 20 midweek innings against Georgia State. So now isn’t the best time for a weekend starting pitcher to be injured.
Saturday starter James McArthur has a mild forearm strain and will sit out this weekend’s series against Furman as a precaution, according to Chase Parham of RebelGrove.com. Ole Miss has announced that Brady Feigl, who typically starts on Sundays, will move up a day to take McArthur’s spot. The starter for Sunday hasn’t been named yet.
McArthur’s been impressive thus far in his sophomore season, carrying a 1.76 ERA and .135 opponent batting average through three Saturday starts, two of which resulted in Rebel wins. His best outing so far came against UNC-Wimington two weeks ago when he allowed just two hits and fanned 11 over six innings.
The good news is that the injury doesn’t sound that bad, though any long term absence would be serious cause for concern. Feigl, who came out of the bullpen as a freshman, has struggled to transition to a weekend starter—he’s toting a 6.0 ERA and is yet to make it past five innings in a start. It already seemed likely that freshman Will Etheridge, who struck out 10 in a start against Georgia State on Wednesday, was positioning himself to take over for Feigl on Sundays.
But Etheridge threw into the eighth inning on Wednesday, meaning he won’t be of service this weekend. Candidates for a starter this Sunday include freshman Greer Holston, who lasted just four innings against Memphis in his first career start last week, or sophomore reliever Andy Pagnozzi, who made three starts last season. Pagnozzi did enter briefly on Wednesday but faced just one batter before leaving the game, so he should be plenty fresh if needed. Fortunately, the Rebels’ bullpen depth means they probably won’t need long innings out of whoever starts.
Furman, which is 8-4 and hitting .317 as a team, isn’t exactly a pushover, either. It’d be one thing if the Rebels offense was raking like it was to open the season, but the current hitting slump puts an absolute premium on quality pitching. If Ole Miss’ bats are going to wake up, now would be a good time.