Ross and Tigers too much for Rebs

LSU starter Austin Ross threw a career-high eight innings and allowed only two hits, while left fielder Jared Mitchell hit the game-winning single in the eighth as second-ranked LSU defeated No.11 Ole Miss 2-1, to capture its seventh straight SEC series Sunday in Alex Box Stadium.

With the win, the Tigers (21-6, 6-3) gain sole possession of second place in the SEC West behind division-leading Arkansas. The Rebels (16-8, 5-4) move to third place in the West.

 

Last week’s SEC Pitcher of the Week, Matty Ott, came on in the ninth and earned his fifth save of the season. Ott retired Ole Miss right fielder Logan Power on a fly ball to left with the tying run at third base to end the game.

 

“Matty is my guy,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “He’s the guy and we believe in him whether it’s the SEC championship or the final game of the College World Series and we have a one-run lead, that’s the guy that’s going to be on the mound for us.

 

“He handled the situation like a champion and got the big pitches when we needed them and we went home happy.”

 

Along with Ott, Ross (4-2) had a brilliant performance, allowing one run on two hits, while walking one and striking out five in eight innings of work.

 

“Austin Ross was outstanding today,” Mainieri said. “He worked both sides of the plate, and he kept his slider down in the zone. I feel like he really grew up a lot this afternoon.”

 

On the other side, Ole Miss starter Scott Bittle had an impressive performance as well, allowing no runs on one hit, while walking two and striking out 10 in seven innings of work. Bittle held the Tigers hitless through his last six innings on the mound.

 

Ole Miss got on the board first in the fifth inning when first baseman Matt Smith doubled down the right field line and later scored on a wild pitch.

 

The Tigers finally responded in the eighth when Sean Ochinko singled to lead off the inning against Ole Miss reliever Jake Morgan -- it was LSU’s first hit since Mitchell singled in the first. Chris McGhee came in as a pinch runner for Ochinko, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Ole Miss catcher Brett Basham.

 

The next batter, Mikie Mahtook, smashed a line-drive past shallow-playing second baseman Tim Ferguson to score McGhee from third and tie the game 1-1.

 

Mahtook stole second and later scored when Mitchell laced a two-out single to right to put the Tigers up 2-1. Mitchell finished the game 2-for-3 with one RBI and was 5-for-12 on the weekend.

 

The Tigers return to action on Tuesday night when they travel to New Orleans to take on in-state rival Tulane with a first pitch slated for 6 p.m. CST. LSU will start freshman left-hander Chris Matulis (4-0, 2.51 ERA) on the mound.


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