BATON ROUGE, La. – Evan Button hit a three-run home run in the second inning to jump-start the Rebel offense as No. 13 Ole Miss (25-13, 8-7 SEC) defeated LSU (21-16-1, 6-8-1 SEC) by a score of 16-5 on Sunday.
Ole Miss out hit the Tigers 15-to-10 en route to the win, avoiding the series sweep. Button led the Rebels at the plate with a 3-for-6 performance as he tallied four RBI and scored two runs. Zack Cozart and Fuller Smith also went 3-for-5 on the afternoon as both players drove in a run and scored two runs each.
Nathan Baker (5-1) picked up the win as he worked 5.1 innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on eight hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Justin Cryer and Cody Satterwhite closed out the final 3.2 innings, holding the Tigers to one run on two hits the rest of the way.
T.J. Forrest (1-2) suffered the loss for the Tigers as he allowed three runs on three hits with a walk and a strikeout in his 2.1 innings on the mound. LSU used four more pitchers down the stretch as Nolan Cain, Jared Bradford, Louis Coleman and Matt Jackson all pitched. The Rebels did most of the damage on Bradford who gave up 12 runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work.
“We challenged our team that this was a must-win scenario today,” Bianco said. “It wasn’t our best game and it wasn’t our cleanest game, but today was about attitude.”
LSU got off to a quick start again on Sunday as a pop fly lost in the sun at short fell to the ground with two outs, putting Blake Dean on first before Sean Ochinko singled to left to put runners at first and second. Baker caught Jordan Mayer looking on a slider for the strikeout to end the inning with no damage done.
Button got the Rebels on the board with his first career home run in the second, a three-run shot to right field that scored Cody Overbeck and Fuller Smith. Overbeck walked to open the inning before moving to second on a single through the left side from Smith.
Cozart tripled with one out in the third, prompting LSU to go to the bullpen to bring in Nolan Cain to relieve the starter, Forrest. Ole Miss would get runners at the corners on a walk of Zach Miller, but the Rebels couldn’t get a run home.
LSU brought in a third pitcher, Jared Bradford, to start the fourth inning
With two outs in the fourth, Robert Lara reached on a throwing error from second and advanced to second when the ball went into the dugout. A batter later the Tigers got on the board when Nicolas Pontiff singled to the left side on a ball that ricocheted off Cody Overbeck’s glove, allowing Lara to score from second before Cozart could get the throw home. A double down the left field line from McGhee scored Pontiff from first to cut the lead to 3-2 in favor of the Rebels.
Ole Miss answered in the fifth as the Rebels used four hits to push four runs across the plate, extending the lead to 7-2. Cody Overbeck sparked the rally with a double down the right field line with runners at the corners.
The Rebels added to the lead in the sixth when Jordan Henry scored on a fielder’s choice grounder to third from Cozart. LSU threw home on the play, but the catcher missed the ball allowing Henry to score on the error and push the lead to 8-2,
LSU got a two-RBI single from Chris Jackson in the sixth to cut the lead to 8-4 as his hit drove in runners from second and third. Justin Cryer entered the game in relief of Baker with runners at first and second and one out in the inning. He got the first batter he faced to ground out before giving up the single to Jackson. Brett Basham then threw Jackson out at second as he attempted to steal, ending the inning with Ole Miss leading 8-4.
A fielder’s choice RBI up the middle from Basham added another run in the seventh as Fuller Smith scored from third and Button advanced to third on the play. Smith singled up the middle before moving to third on a double from Button. The Rebels would go on for a big inning, adding seven runs on five hits to take the lead to 15-4 in favor of Ole Miss.
Blake Dean homered to right field with one out in the seventh to cut back into the lead, 15-5 in favor of Ole Miss.
Ole Miss pushed another run across in the eighth when a passed ball with the bases loaded scored Cullan Kight from third. Kight singled for his first career hit before advancing on a single from Justin Henry and a walk of Cozart.
Satterwhite would hold the Tigers off the board in the eighth and ninth to give the Rebels the 16-5 win.