OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics) – Right-hander Sam Smith turned in another phenomenal start for the Rebels, but the offense couldn’t string together a rally as No. 10 Ole Miss (30-11, 10-8 SEC) fell to No. 7 LSU (30-10-1, 10-7-1 SEC) by a score of 2-0 in the series finale Saturday.
Smith (5-3) worked 7.1 innings and allowed two runs on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts as he took the loss despite turning in his eighth consecutive quality start of the season. Left-hander Wyatt Short closed out the final 1.2 innings with a walk and three strikeouts without allowing a hit to keep the Tigers in check and keep the Rebels in striking distance.
Hunter Devall (1-0) picked up the win for the Tigers, working 2.2 innings in relief of starter Alden Cartwright, who went 4.0 innings on the afternoon. Four LSU pitchers combined to hold the Rebels scoreless with six hits, four strikeouts and one walk.
“Early on we didn’t get any hits or base runners,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Unfortunately, today was one of those bad offensive days. It happens in baseball over 56 games. We really couldn’t mount anything. We had a few base hits but didn’t really threaten at all. We rarely, if ever, got the leadoff guy on. It was disappointing offensively.”
LSU scored the first run of the game in the third inning when Connor Hale came home from third on a single to center from Andrew Stevenson. Hale reached on a single through the left side and took second on a passed ball on an intended pitch out. A sac bunt moved him to third and set up the score on the Stevenson hit.
A double to left from Mark Laird put two in scoring position as Stevenson went first-to-third on the play, but the Rebels escaped the jam in the next at bat. Jake Fraley flew out to left and Braxton Lee gunned Stevenson out at home for a double play to end the inning and keep the Tiger lead to one run.
The Rebels couldn’t get anything started offensively down the stretch, putting runners in scoring position in the fourth, but a double play ended the attempted rally for the best chance to get a run home up to that point.
LSU added an insurance run in the eighth inning when Hale again delivered for the Tigers, hitting a solo shot into the bullpen in left field to take the Tiger lead out to 2-0.
Ole Miss again got a man in scoring position in the eighth with a double to right center from Sikes Orvis, but couldn’t get him home as a groundout ended the potential two-out rally. LSU again squelched a rally attempt in the ninth to pick up the 2-0 victory and claim the weekend series.
The Rebels will return to action on Tuesday at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss., when Ole Miss will take on Mississippi State in the annual Governor’s Cup Game. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.