Ole Miss dropped the series to LSU over the weekend, despite a dramatic game three comeback.
Derek Diamond took the mound on Thursday night in his first series start ever. Diamond was a late change to the position lineup after the usual starter, Gunnar Hoglund, was a late scratch due to arm soreness. He pitched 6.0 innings, allowing one earned run and only four hits.
Offensively all of the Rebels’ runs came from home runs. Jacob Gonzalez, Kevin Graham, and Hayden Leatherwood each had a home run in the first game. LSU scored three runs in the seventh inning, and Ole Miss was unable to come back. They lost the game 4-5.
Doug Nikhazy started in the second game and had himself a day. He pitched six innings, striking out 11 and only allowing one run. This was the first game the Rebels lost when Nikhazy was pitching.
The Rebels were unable to get ahead of the pitching and mustered only five hits in five innings. Both teams scored runs in the sixth inning, with LSU scoring two and Ole Miss scoring one. That score remained the same until the ninth inning. Jackson Kimbrell came into the game and squashed any chance of a comeback for the Rebels. The Tigers loaded the bases on an intentional walk and an error before LSU brought them all home on a grand slam. The Rebels lost the second game 7-2, costing them the series.
For the final game of the series, Ole Miss shocked the college baseball world. For the first seven innings of the game, everything looked like it was going south for Ole Miss. It was 9-1 going into the eighth inning before Jacob Gonzalez hit an RBI single. The Rebels didn’t slow down after that, and Peyton Chatagnier hit a three-run home run, followed by a grand slam by TJ McCants to tie it up.
“We needed something like that. We struggled the first two days,” TJ McCants said. “Two days, coming back and fighting back the way we did is a huge confidence booster for us.”
Taylor Broadway handled things at the top of the ninth, striking out two LSU batters to set up a walk off opportunity for the Rebels. Kemp Alderman stepped up to the plate and hit his first career home run in a big way. Alderman was a redshirt freshman until Tuesday and was able to come in and win the entire game for Ole Miss.
“I’ve always been an Ole Miss fan my whole life and this is what I’ve dreamed of. It was an awesome experience I will never forget,” Alderman said. “I hope someone has it on video.”
Head Coach Mike Bianco reflected on the moment and expressed how proud he was of his team for fighting back.
“I’ve known Kemp since he was 12 years old. He played travel ball with my son,” Bianco said. “(It’s a) special moment for a kid you’ve watched since he was 12, to play at his dream school and do something like that.”
Ole Miss will take on South Carolina this weekend at home.