OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics) — For over seven innings, very little went right for No. 9 Ole Miss. That all changed with a handful of big swings and Kemp Alderman’s first career home run coming at the best possible time. The Rebels avoided the series sweep against the LSU Tigers by erasing an eight-run deficit with a 10-9 walk-off win on Saturday at Swayze Field.
Down 9-1 in the eighth inning, an RBI single by Jacob Gonzalez was followed up with a trio of home runs. Peyton Chatagnier’s three-run bomb got the Rebels within four of the Tigers while TJ McCants tied the game in dramatic fashion with his first career grand slam to the deepest part of the field. After closer Taylor Broadway slammed the door on the Tigers in the ninth, Alderman crushed his first pitch to right field to win it.
At the plate, Gonzalez and TJ McCants each went 3-for-5 at the plate with a combined five RBI while Chatagnier went 2-for-4 and four RBI. On the mound, starter Drew McDaniel went 2.2 innings and gave up nine hits and six runs. Austin Miller, Jack Dougherty, Tyler Myers and Broadway gave up a combined four hits and three runs, with Dougherty going the longest at 3.1 innings pitched in attempt to stop what appeared to be an runaway LSU victory.
LSU came out swinging right out of the gate with three consecutive hits. Tre’ Morgan and Dylan Crews singled and doubled, respectively, while a sac fly by Gavin Dugas allowed the Tigers to take an early 1-0 lead. Will Helmers used nine pitches on the mound to retire the top of the Ole Miss batting order.
It wouldn’t be long before the Tigers extended their lead in the second inning. Jordan Thompson hit a solo shot to right center and gave LSU a 2-0 lead. After a double by Alex Milazzo, Morgan scored him via single to go up 3-0. The Rebels looked primed to cut into the deficit after a deep Dunhurst double and Bench aboard via HBP, but a double play and ground out got LSU out of the inning unscathed.
The bats became hot again for the Tigers in the third inning after Dugas hit a leadoff homer to give LSU a 4-0 advantage. After that was followed up with back-to-back singles from Giovanni DiGiacomo and Cade Doughty, McDaniel still had a chance to minimize the bleeding. Drew Bianco made it continue with a two-RBI single to center field and LSU had a 6-0 lead, bringing Miller out of the Ole Miss bullpen to get out of the frame.
Leatherwood and Van Cleve reached via free pass, with Leatherwood later finding himself at third after a double play. Chatagnier’s RBI single scored Leatherwood and got Ole Miss on the board for the first time.
The Tigers continued to pour it on in the fourth inning, starting with a Morgan walk and Crews reaching via fielding error. DiGiacomo’s one-out single and Doughty’s sac fly added runs for the fourth consecutive inning and gave LSU an 8-1 lead, bringing Dougherty out of the bullpen to get the final out. The Tigers made a pitching change of their own to begin the bottom of the fourth, bringing in Blake Money.
After consecutive fly outs, McCants hit a ground-rule double that was followed up by a Baker single, putting runners at the corners with two outs. An outstanding catch by Thompson at shortstop ended the fourth inning with no damage.
Dougherty beaned Bianco to begin the fifth inning and Bianco later gave LSU another run for the fifth consecutive inning. The RBI single by Crews gave the Tigers a 9-1 lead. Gonzalez doubled to right field in the bottom half of the fifth, but all to no avail due to a fly out. Fast forward to the bottom of the seventh, the Rebels loaded the bases with no outs, but again failed to get runners in with three straight retired.
Ole Miss refused to throw in the towel as the Rebels tied the game at nine apiece, with three big swings from Gonzalez, Chatagnier and McCants. Alderman just needed one pitch to win it all for the Rebels in the ninth and salvage the third and final game of the weekend series.
The Rebels will be back in action on April 30 to host the South Carolina Gamecocks for a three-game weekend SEC series. Friday’s first pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. CT and can be seen on SEC Network+ or listened to on the Ole Miss Radio Network.