By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – It’s never good when your third-base coach gets tossed, but the reality is there had been no action at Cliff Godwin’s bag anyway.
In fact, no Ole Miss runner reached third base Saturday as four LSU pitchers combined in a 2-0 shutout to clinch the SEC series for the Tigers before 9,741 Swayze Field fans.
The three-game series set a Swayze record with crowds totaling 29,663.
Lake Charles, La., native Sam Smith gave the No. 13-ranked Rebels a quality start, as he has so many times this season.
He didn’t have run support, however. Ole Miss (30-11, 10-8) SEC was shut out for the first time this season.
“It was a bad day offensively. That’s not like us. It really felt like this weekend wasn’t like us,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “A few basehits here and there, but we didn’t really mount anything at all.”
Ole Miss had six hits to LSU’s five but none that produced a run.
Smith allowed three hits in the third inning, leading to a 1-0 LSU lead and the game’s only run until Conner Hale homered to left to lead off the eighth.
Smith gave up both runs to LSU (30-10-1, 10-7-1 SEC) and allowed five hits over 71⁄3 innings.
The Rebels went into the weekend second among SEC teams in runs scored with 229 and averaging 6.02 runs per game. They scored 23 runs in winning two of three at Mississippi State last weekend.
No. 12 LSU pitched a freshman, Alden Cartwright, who was making his second start and had thrown only 162⁄3 innings this season.
Cartwright had a perfect game until Auston Bousfield’s one-out single in the fourth.
Smith gained strength as the game went on, retiring 10 straight from the fourth to seventh innings. That streak ended with Hale’s home run.
Cartwright’s limited body of work plus the fact that LSU didn’t announce a Game 3 starter before the series began made it difficult for Ole Miss hitters to get much of an advance scouting report.
“They didn’t let us know who they were throwing until right before the game. In the hitters’ meeting we didn’t really have a scouting report,” Ole Miss catcher Will Allen said.
Not only did the Rebels not score they were not particularly close. Bousfield’s hit was followed with another by Austin Anderson, but Allen’s lazy chopper bailed out Cartwright with a double play to end the fourth.
Sikes Orvis got off several decent swings, one of them a two-out double off the wall in the seventh. Godwin was ejected during Orvis’ at-bat, and Bianco took over in the box – his first time, he thinks, since the national championship game as an assistant with LSU in 1997.
Orvis was left at second when pinch-hitter Holt Perdzock hit a high pop fly to center field.
Perdzock grounded out to second to end the game after Anderson had singled and Orvis had walked.
“They came straight at us and attacked us, but we’re a better offense than that,” Allen said. “To put up six hits and no runs, we’ve got to execute better than that. We know that. We’re more talented than that.”