No. 2 LSU (47-7, 22-6) entered their series against No. 23 Ole Miss (35-19, 14-14) having already locked up the SEC West and a first round bye in the SEC Tournament. That being said, some would have expected to see LSU come out with a lack of fire in the game one of the series, however, that certainly was not the case Thursday as the Tigers defeated the Rebels by a score of 7-1. LSU also played the game without one of their hottest players, as JaCoby Jones will be held out this weekend. Senior Raph Rhymes explained that the Tigers had plenty of motivation prior to Thursday's matchup with the Rebels.
"For us seniors, it's out last weekend of regular season games," said Rhymes. "We got to go out and play the game that we came here to play. I think that is enough motivation right there."
LSU got the scoring started early in the game when they added two runs in the first inning. Doubles by Mark Laird, Mason Katz and Rhymes were all instrumental in the Tigers manufacturing two runs.
The Tigers didn't score again until the fourth inning, but they had two hitters make a lot of noise in the process. Katz blasted a moonshot homerun over the left-center field wall to lead off the fourth. The round-tripper was the first homerun by Katz since the beginning of April. The next big hit came off of the bat of Christian Ibarra. The LSU third baseman hit a no-doubter down the left field line to notch another run on the scoreboard for the Tigers. Following the game, Katz discussed his streak-breaking homerun.
"I had a good idea that it was gone," said Katz. "Right when I hit it I was just saying hoping it would be gone. It felt really good. I needed that."
In the sixth inning, there was a lot of excitement caused by Rhymes. The senior hit a ball into the right-center gap that got passed the Ole Miss outfield. With the right fielder struggling to get a good handle on the ball, Rhymes was well on his way around the bases. As he was approaching home plate, Rhymes had a brutal collision with Ole Miss catcher Stuart Turner. After an in-air flip, Rhymes touched home plate for an inside the park homerun.
The Rebels got on the board in the seventh inning when they collected three straight two-out singles off of LSU starter Cody Glenn. However, that was the only offensive production by the Rebels for most of the evening.
The next run scored by the Tigers came off of the bat of Sean McMullen and ended up in the right field bleachers. The homerun made the score 5-1 in favor of the Tigers after seven innings.
LSU concluded their scoring efforts in the eighth inning. The Tigers added a run after a Katz double and a single by Rhymes to drive him in.
Katz finished the game by going 3-4 with two doubles and a homerun. Rhymes led the team in hitting on the night by finishing 3-4 with a single, double and a homerun. Rhymes also had two RBI.
Offensively, LSU's Paul Mainieri was very satisfied with his team's performance tonight.
"We were hitting balls right on the nose and we were hitting line drives all over the place," said Mainieri. "Their starter was very good tonight and he has given us trouble in the past. We had four solo homeruns tonight and they broke the game open a little bit."
In terms of pitching, LSU received another very good outing from sophomore starter Cody Glenn. The left-hander went seven innings, allowing eight hits and one earned run with no walks. Glenn discussed his outing following the game.
"I would like some more 1-2-3 innings just to keep my pitch count down, but I was happy with my outing tonight," said Glenn. "I got out of a couple of jams in the game and just let my defense work"
What was more impressive than his stats from the night was the fact that Glenn routinely showed a good ability to get out of jams throughout the evening. Mainieri was very happy with what he saw out of Glenn on Thursday night.
"Cody pitched very well tonight," said Mainieri. "He has seemed like he has continued to get better. He made some big pitches when he had to and he had to work out of jams. He did a great job tonight."
The LSU bullpen also shut things down the final two innings to secure the victory for the Tigers. LSU will not take on Ole Miss on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. with junior Kurt McCune taking the mound for the Bayou Bengals.
LSU starts series off with a 7-1 win
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