Baton Rouge -- Over the course of a long baseball season some games are best left in the rearview mirror.
That was certainly the case for LSU as Ole Miss evened the weekend set with a 16-3 demolition of the Tigers.
LSU starter Kevin Gausman ran into early trouble for the second straight outing, and his bullpen was no better. The Rebels banged out 18 hits, a season high for Tiger opponents. The 16 runs are the most LSU has allowed since 2007.
Six days after Georgia pushed six runs across in the second against Gausman, Ole Miss tallied four runs in the frame.
Two walks, a double and a pair of RBI singles plated the four second-inning runs and got things started for Ole Miss, a precursor for things to come.
With the score 4-0, Mikie Mahtook led off the second inning with a single, and he moved to third on a perfect hit and run by Mason Katz.
With a chance to chip at the lead early, Alex Edward and Ty Ross went down on strikes.
“Last weekend we fell in a hole in the game that Kevin pitched, and we bounced right back and scored four runs,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I don’t know if it was poor hitting or good pitching. The reality is we didn’t score.”
A leadoff double, an RBI double, a ground out, and an RBI single to open the third finished Gausman’s night.
“It was just kind of one of those nights,” Gausman said. “If they weren’t hitting it hard for a base hit, they were hitting it up the middle.”
The freshman right-hander allowed six earned runs on six hits in two and one-third innings of work. It was the second straight start where he failed to finish the third inning.
“I think my confidence is down a little bit, but I’ll come back,” Gausman said. “(Pitching coach David) Grewe told me to hold my head up. The team still believes in me.”
Grant Dozar smacked his first home run of the season to lead off the third, but Ole Miss answered with a run in the fourth.
Beau Didier’s pinch hit RBI single in the sixth drew LSU within five, but that was as close as the Tigers would come.
The Rebels exploded for the biggest inning by a Tiger opponent all season as twelve Rebels came to the plate in a nine-run, eight-hit assault on three Tiger pitchers in the seventh.
Alex Yarbrough provided the exclamation point on the inning with a mammoth three-run blast to the bleachers in right field.
After the dust settled, the score was 16-2 and The Box was bordering on empty.
LSU tacked on a run in the seventh, but it was merely a footnote on the blowout.
“We just got beat tonight,” said junior Austin Nola. “We have to put this one behind us. Tomorrow the score starts 0-0.”
The rubber match of the series begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday. LSU senior Ben Alsup is penciled in to start. Ole Miss will counter with lefty Austin Wright.