There’s a certain comfort that goes along with giving the ball to Sam Smith tonight as Ole Miss finds itself one win away from Omaha.
The chances that Smith will get off to a good start and hang a few zeroes on the board at the beginning are pretty good.
The question becomes how long Smith will go, and the recent body of work says not that long. It’s a different answer than was provided earlier this season when Smith strung together eight starts of at least six innings.
Smith lasted only 4 2-3 innings in Game 3 of the Oxford Regional, giving up two runs, none earned. In his prior start, he pitched three straight scoreless innings in the SEC tournament against Arkansas, but when the Hogs caught up with him they hit him pretty good.
After those three scoreless frames, Smith gave up six runs, four earned, over his last inning of work.
Smith went seven innings with only one run allowed against Georgia on May 11, the outlier in his last month and a half of work.
The key tonight will be managing the bullpen and just who is available.
Scott Weathersby and Josh Laxer have yet to throw.
This is an all hands on deck kind of game. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Chris Ellis come in and throw an inning or two if needed. He didn’t throw strikes consistently in his Game 1 start, but that has not been the norm for him this season. Ultimately he threw 2.1 innings and 59 pitches.
Aaron Greenwood threw 39 pitches over two innings last night and was not as sharp — although ultimately effective in the ninth — as he was against Washington.
Greenwood gave up a leadoff walk in the top of the eighth. The Cajuns bunted the runner ahead before Greenwood got a big strikeout of Jace Conrad. The two-out hit that tied the game for Lafayette went through the right side of the infield as Preston Overbey was shaded toward second base with a man on.
With a three-run lead in the ninth Greenwood allowed a leadoff double but got the next three outs to strand the runner at third.
His last two at-bats were two of his biggest. ULL’s Seth Harrison, who scored the tying run in the fifth when he jarred the ball loose from Will Allen in a home plate collision, fouled off several pitches on a 3-2 count. He made Greenwood work, but Greenwood got the job done, getting a comebacker to the mound. He was able to Freeze the runner at third, take a few steps and lob to Sikes Orvis for the second out. He had a 2-2 count against Dylan Butler — who had a home run in Game 1 — when he got a called strikeout to end the game.
Lafayette will start left-hander Cody Boutte (9-0, 3.09) who allowed two or fewer earned runs in 11 starts this season.
From the Mother Ship, here’s our Game 2 story. LINK