By Randy Rosetta/Special to the Journal
BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU’s offense has yet to get revved up a whole bunch against Ole Miss in the final SEC series of the season. After two games at Alex Box Stadium, though, the No. 2⁄3-ranked Tigers will certainly live with the results.
Raph Rhymes’ dramatic two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning as the exception, and that vaulted LSU to a 5-4 win at newly christened Skip Bertman Field.
Facing Ole Miss reliever Aaron Greenwood, who had been stingy for 3-plus innings, Tiger cleanup hitter Mason Katz dumped a one-out single to the middle of the infield, just far enough to elude the Rebels’ two middle infielders.
Rhymes got the count to 2-and-1 and then blistered a pitch into the seats to the right of the scoreboard to set off a wild celebration among the crowd 10,105.
That came on the heels of Ole Miss (35-20, 14-15 SEC) erasing a two-run deficit with two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth.
With Ole Miss down 3-1 in the seventh inning, nine-hole hitter Will Jamison flared a base hit into left field that dropped before Rhymes could grab it. Jamison stole second on a Nick Rumbelow pitch in the dirt to Tanner Mathis, who walked after a wild pitch to put runners on the corners.
Austin Anderson drilled a line-drive single over the right side of the infield to score Jamison. Two ground-ball outs produced the second run of the inning, with Andrew Mistone driving home Mathis to knot the score, 3-3.
The Rebels crept ahead in the eighth inning when LSU uncharacteristically unraveled. Joey Bourgeois came on to start the inning and walked Sikes Orvis on four pitches. With pinch-runner Cameron Dishon on base, Bourgeois’ next pitch was wild.
The Tiger senior rallied to get Holt Perdzock swinging on a pitch in the dirt, but when Ty Ross threw to first base, Dishon broke for third. Tyler Moore’s throw was low and hopped past Christian Ibarra and into the Ole Miss bullpen, permitting Dishon to dash home.
That was the Rebels last hurrah, though.
Senior Chris Cotton came on in the ninth inning and got Ole Miss in order to clinch the series for LSU (48-7, 23-6).
The teams wrap up the series at noon today in a marquis pitching matchup worthy of a Friday night in the SEC. Ole Miss’ Bobby Wahl (9-0) and the Tigers’ Ryan Eades (8-1) are both regarded as possible first-round picks in the MLB draft next month.