What’s the best way to respond after untimely hitting costs you a win?
Getting 18 runs on 19 hits in the next game does the trick. No. 3 LSU (18-2, 2-1 SEC) exploded at the plate Sunday for an 18-6, series-clinching victory against Ole Miss (10-9, 1-2). The Tigers rebounded from Saturday’s disappointing loss in extra innings with their best offensive showing of the year.
The 19 hits were the most in an SEC game since April 6 last season against Mississippi State, and the 18 runs were most against a conference opponent since 2013 against Florida.
Those 18 runs were also the most LSU has scored against Ole Miss in 79 years, and the Rebels still haven’t won a series at Alex Box Stadium since 1982.
“I challenged them last night and told them that this is an opportunity to show people what we’re made of,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We could’ve felt sorry for ourselves, or come back and play hard today. And they took that to heart.”
LSU answered that challenge — and then some. A night after going just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, the Tigers went 10-for-17 in that department. LSU scored in six of its eight offensive innings and produced at least two runs in five.
All but one player in the starting lineup recorded a hit Sunday, with six getting multiple hits. LSU had 12 different players drive in a run, and nine different Tigers crossed the plate.
“It was a long night [Saturday], a tough loss,” said Jared Foster, who had a pair of RBI Sunday. “The main thing was to come back, refocus and swing the bats. Don’t be passive, just come out and swing.”
The onslaught started early with LSU dropping a five-spot in the first. Alex Bregman, Conner Hale, Kade Scivicque and Chris Chinea all drove in runs in that inning.
Hale would homer in the third, and Scivicque drove in another run that inning. Bregman joined the home run club in the fourth with a solo shot, his fifth of the season and his third in four games.
Jake Fraley — who was riding an 0-for-16 slump before a hit in the second — drove in two runs with a single in the fifth.
Foster produced LSU’s third homer of the game with a two-run shot in the sixth. That made it 12-3 at the time, but LSU was far from done.
The Tigers would tack on six more runs in the seventh. At one point LSU recorded five consecutive hits. Mark Laird, Kramer Robertson, Grayson Byrd, Andrew Stevenson and Danny Zardon all got RBI in that inning.
“If you want to be known as one of the better hitting teams in the country, you have to bring it every day,” Mainieri said. “You can’t take days off…We needed to assert ourselves and take charge with the bats, and that’s what they did.”
LSU actually trailed Sunday, with starting pitcher Jake Godfrey surrendering a run in the first inning. It was a bumpy outing for him as he walked four and gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Ole Miss produced its run in the first without a hit as it came in on a wild pitch. He gave up two more in the sixth inning after surrendering three hits to start the frame.
But Godfrey had plenty of run support and earned his fourth win of the season.
“Godfrey didn’t have great stuff today,” Mainieri said. “But he hung in there…I was proud of him, and he fought through one of those days without his best stuff.”
The only other blemish on the day for the LSU pitching staff came on a three-run blast by Sikes Orvis in the ninth that cleared the right field bleachers. That didn’t have any impact on the final result though, and LSU leaves the weekend with its first SEC series win of the year.
“It’s good to know we have a team that can come back the next day and forget the past,” Foster said.
The Tigers begin a five-game road stand Tuesday at Southern. Russell Reynolds will start on the mound in that one. LSU will then head up to Arkansas next weekend for a three-game series with an away game at Tulane to follow next week.
LSU routs Ole Miss, 18-6, to take series
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