Ole Miss baseball cruised to a blowout win over Arkansas St., but injury news in the postgame has the fanbase on edge moving forward in the 2023 season.
The Rebels (4-0) topped ASU 11-3 using three home runs and a solid debut from freshman JT Quinn in Tuesday’s action. After the game however, head coach Mike Bianco told the local media Friday starter Hunter Elliott would not be available in the series opener against top 25 Maryland due to forearm tightness.
If you didn’t know already, forearm tightness is the two words no baseball training staff ever want to hear come out of a pitcher’s mouth early in the season. The results of Elliott’s MRI are not known yet, but you can google and find out what the possibilities could range on that symptom. Until Bianco says more, it’s all speculation.
In Elliott’s place, Jack Dougherty will take the mound on Friday, and he has just last season pitched very well in one of the biggest games in Ole Miss baseball history. So what I’m saying is he will probably be a good veteran placeholder as Rebels everywhere pray for Elliott’s return.
There’s still a lot of season left to be played too, so if Elliott does have a long timeline for return, it gives a lot of other players a lot of time to emerge and get into the rotation. Quinn, for example, pitched fairly well for his first ever outing at Ole Miss. The 6’6” freshman had control issues early and a passed ball from back-up catcher Kemp Alderman cost the Rebels one run. However, he locked in from there to go 4.1 innings, three earned runs, and five strikeouts - nothing out of this world but plenty of upside.
It’s a young pitching staff for the Rebels, and Elliott battling an injury would be the second pitcher to miss time this season after Josh Mallitz underwent Tommy John surgery late in 2022.
The good news so far is the Rebels offense is beating the shit out of the ball and have scored 46 runs in four games. Last time I checked, the team who scores the most runs wins the game, so perhaps the veteran laden lineup can keep the Rebels competitive despite the early pitching concerns.