The Ole Miss Rebels added a win and two losses to their season against LSU over the weekend, dropping their SEC record to 7-8.
Thursday night in Baton Rouge, the Rebels dropped their first game of the weekend 15-2 to the surging Tigers.
A combination of poor pitching and even weaker hitting kept the Rebels behind from start to finish. Throughout the game, Ole Miss could not control the Tigers’ impressive offense as their pitching staff saw the same number of doubles as it did strikeouts (3). The added misery of a sixth inning LSU grand slam added insult to injury for head coach Mike Bianco’s men.
With Thursday night’s humiliation still fresh on their minds, the Rebels could easily have folded under the pressure and conceded a second loss. This was, however, not the case Friday night as the Rebels, clearly out for blood, crushed four homers en route to a 4-1 upset over their hosts.
Colby Bortles and Nick Fortes sent back-to-back shots out of the park in the fourth inning, while the remaining two dingers flew off the bat of Tate Blackman in both the first and sixth innings.
While Ole Miss’ offensive powerhouses impressed, a lack of production from the supporting cast raised some concern. Including the four solo homers, the Rebels registered only six hits throughout the course of the match. Fans were left wondering what Friday night’s result would have been without the masterclass Bortles, Fortes and Blackman put on.
Though the offense captured all of the headlines, the Rebels’ tight fielding and pitching contributed heavily to their Friday win. Ole Miss limited the Tigers’ 15-run capable offense to only seven hits and one run. Bianco relied on pitching from David Parkinson, Will Ethridge and Dallas Woolfolk to suffocate the Tigers’ hitting and keep his own team’s floundering offense in the game.
Heading into the final matchup of the series, the Rebels had a legitimate chance at taking the series from the Tigers in Baton Rouge for the first time since 1982.
Saturday evening, the Rebels again demonstrated an impressive control over LSU’s offense. But yet another lackluster offensive performance neutralized the Rebels’ chances and handed LSU a 3-2 victory. Ole Miss fell to 1-2 on the weekend.
Even with marked improvements on the defensive end, Rebel baseball continues to suffer at the hands of opposing pitchers. At the end of the day, Bianco and his team failed to generate enough offense to win against an elite opponent. While the Tigers are one of the toughest teams in the nation and their ballpark is one of the toughest venues to play in, these losses may haunt Ole Miss once the regular season draws to a close.
The Rebels will need a quick turnaround before facing Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday if they hope to salvage their postseason dreams.