BATON ROUGE, La. (WCBI/Ole Miss Athletics) – The Rebels got some clutch hits when needed, but the Tigers got the last one as No. 14 Ole Miss (35-20, 14-15 SEC) fell to No. 2 LSU (48-7, 23-6 SEC) by a score of 5-4 on Friday night in game two of the weekend series.
The Rebels took the lead in the eighth with a heads up play on the base path by freshman Cameron Dishon, but LSU responded with a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning to grab the lead back before closing things out in the ninth.
It was the 17th time this season Ole Miss has played in a game decided by one run.
Aaron Greenwood (3-4) took the loss for the Rebels in an outing that was not done justice by his final stat line. The junior allowed three runs on three hits with five strikeouts through 4.2 innings of work. The right-hander stymied LSU hitters for most of the night, but senior Raph Rhymes figured him out on one pitch in the eighth to grab the win for the Tigers.
Kevin Berry (4-0) picked up the relief win for the Tigers, giving up a hit and a walk in 0.2 innings of work. He entered the game after the Rebels took the lead in the top of the eighth, and was credited as the pitcher of record after the Tigers regained the lead in the home half of the inning.
“That one really hurts because it looked like we were so close to closing it out and the guys fought so hard tonight,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “If there is a silver lining in a game like that, it’s that we have Aaron (Greenwood) back to the form he showed for most of the season. That may be the best I’ve seen him throw and going forward we need him back in the bullpen with the other guys who have been so effective for us for so much of the season.”
Ole Miss struck first on Friday night, bringing a run home with a two-out rally when Andrew Mistone singled to right field to score Austin Anderson from second. Anderson doubled with one out to put himself in scoring position on the Mistone hit.
The Tigers moved into the lead with a rally in the fourth inning. Back-to-back singles from Alex Bregman and Mason Katz put runners at the corners before a sac fly from Raph Rhymes tied the game. A walk and an infield single loaded the bases before another walk pushed the go-ahead run across the plate.
Ole Miss then turned to its bullpen for>Aaron Greenwood who struck out the next two batters to end the inning and keep the Rebels within one at 2-1.
LSU added to the lead in the fifth inning when Mark Laird tripled down the right field line to open the frame. A groundout to second a batter later pushed Laird home to put the Tigers up 3-1 before the Rebels would retire the next three batters to get out of the inning.
It took two innings, but Ole Miss answered with a two-run rally in the seventh to tie the game at three. A single from Will Jamison and a walk of Mathis got things started before Anderson delivered an RBI single to cut the lead to one and leave two men on.
Stuart Turner then grounded out to first to put both runners in scoring position. Mathis then came home on a groundout from Mistone as the Rebels knotted the score at three. Nothing else would cross the plate and the game remained tied at the stretch.
The Rebels moved in front for the second time on the night with heads up base running by pinch runner Cameron Dishon.
Sikes Orvis drew a leadoff walk and Dishon came into the game to run for the first baseman. Dishon took second on a wild pitch, setting up the scoring play as the speedy freshman took advantage of a rare LSU miscue.
Holt Perdzock struck out, but the Tiger catcher dropped the ball, forcing a throw to first for the out. Dishon took off for third on the play and LSU threw from first to third after the putout of Perdzock. The throw was off the mark and sailed to the wall, allowing Dishon to scamper home for the score and a 4-3 Rebel lead.
LSU got the lead back in the bottom of the inning, using a two-run home run from Rhymes to take the 5-4 lead.
The two teams will close out the series at noon on Saturday in a game televised by CBS College Sports.