By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – No. 4 LSU battered the Ole Miss bullpen with long ball production, and the Tigers won the decisive third game of the SEC series 12-3 on Sunday.
Only remnants remained from a Swayze Field crowd of 7,650 when the teams shook hands some three hours after the first pitch.
The Rebels were unable to match Saturday’s 12 hits in a 7-4 win that evened the series. LSU right-hander Aaron Nola scattered seven hits and gave up three runs in seven innings.
LSU got home runs from Austin Nola, Mason Katz, Tyler Ross and Richton native JaCoby Jones, who was 3-for-5 with five RBIs.
Ole Miss has been outscored 27-8 in its last three Sunday games.
“You’re limited, and we fell behind in counts and had to keep from hitting and walking guys. They made us pay. We didn’t miss many bats,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said.
The loss drops No. 24 Ole Miss (31-18, 11-13 SEC) two games below .500 in the SEC.
The Rebels finished with 10 hits, three by second baseman Alex Yarbrough.
“We didn’t hit too many balls hard on a day that it seemed like the ball was flying. We couldn’t get too many good swings off of (Nola),” Bianco said.
Ole Miss junior college transfer Dylan Chavez, a season-long reliever making his first start, kept the game close, but the bullpen did not.
After a perfect first, Chavez allowed an infield single, a walk and a hit batter in the second. The Tigers finally took advantage with a two-run double down the left field line by nine-hole hitter Jones.
In a 2-2 game Chavez gave up the lead on his second pitch of the top of the fourth when Tyler Ross led off with a home run.
Josh Laxer, the hero of Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Southern Miss, could not get out of the fourth, giving up four runs on three hits, a hit batter and an intentional walk.
Aaron Greenwood completed the inning but not without allowing two walks, the second driving in a run.
The Ole Miss bullpen went into the day having allowed just three runs in its last 25 SEC innings, but with the first options not available there was no magic to be found.
LSU (38-11, 16-8) led 7-2 after the fourth, and the rout was on.
“We’ve got to find a way to play better on Sunday,” Yarbrough said. “I don’t think it’s a mental thing. We were mentally and physically prepared to play today. It was one of those days they came out and swung it. You get 12 runs on 13 hits, there’s not a lot you can do about that.”