By Carl Dubois
Special to the Daily Journal
BATON ROUGE, La. – Two young Ole Miss players produced like veterans to give the Rebels a 7-4 victory against LSU in their first visit to the new, palatial Alex Box Stadium.
Freshman designated hitter Matt Snyder hit two of four Ole Miss home runs and drove in four runs, and Drew Pomeranz won the matchup of sophomore Friday night pitchers.
Pomeranz (2-0) gave up hits to LSU’s first three batters, then held the Tigers without another hit until the seventh inning. LSU scored two runs on three hits that inning, but Pomeranz ended it by striking out Jared Mitchell with runners on first and second.
Jake Morgan gave up an unearned run in the eighth but struck out three batters in the inning. He struck out three more in the ninth, including Mitchell to end the game.
Weather permitting, the Rebels (16-6, 5-2) and Tigers (19-6, 4-3) are scheduled to play the second game of the series at 3 p.m. today (FSN).
Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, a former LSU player and coach, said he wasn’t totally surprised Snyder handled himself well in his first game in Baton Rouge, where 4,226 braved a sometimes-rainy night to see the series opener.
Snyder, Bianco said, is an enthusiastic player who enjoys the spotlight, has contagious enthusiasm and embraced the big-venue setting.
“I don’t know if we assumed he’d handle it that well,” Bianco said.
Snyder and Matt Smith hit solo homers before Snyder’s high-arcing three-run shot in the sixth inning gave the Rebels a 5-1 lead. It was Snyder’s fourth homer in three games.
Brett Basham’s seventh-inning double made it 6-1.
Jeremy Travis helped answer LSU’s two subsequent runs by hitting a leadoff homer in the eighth for a 7-3 lead.
Pomeranz (2-0) retired 11 consecutive batters after spotting LSU the game’s first run in the first inning. He pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out five.
“I was kind of up in the strike zone a little bit in the first inning,” Pomeranz said, attributing that to being a tad too keyed up for the game.
“I couldn’t find my curveball, so they knew to just sit on my fastball. After that I just tried to slow things down.”
LSU’s offense slowed to a near standstill for the next five innings.
Ole Miss led 2-1 when LSU 6-foot-7 right-hander Anthony Ranaudo, the SEC leader in strikeouts (60), walked two of the first three batters in the sixth inning. He got his ninth strikeout of the game and seemed on the verge of his 10th before paying for the walks.
Snyder fell behind 0-2 before driving the next pitch well beyond the right field wall.
He said he expected Ranaudo (2-2) to throw a fastball, and he did.
“I was pretty sure another one was coming,” said Snyder, who missed the first two of the at-bat, “and he threw it low. I hit it pretty good.”
Both teams hit doubles their coaches and fans thought were home runs. Mitchell sped around second on his first-inning shot and ran LSU into an unforced out that cost the Tigers more scoring.
Tim Ferguson’s RBI double in the seventh brought Bianco out of the dugout, but it was ruled a double after hitting near the merger of the in-play wall and a higher, out-of-play fence.
Smith’s leadoff homer in the fifth gave Ole Miss a 2-1 lead.
The last 12 outs Morgan has recorded have come on strikeouts. He earned a save last weekend against Alabama by striking out the final six batters
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