Coach Mike Bianco said after Ole Miss lost to Memphis a couple of weeks ago, the Rebels needed a hero. They did Friday night against LSU.

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Alex Yarbrough has been that guy much of the season, but in the Rebels' 4-3 loss in 13 innings to LSU Friday night, the star Rebel batting over .400 all season was 0-for-6.

Yarbrough won't be 0-for-6 often. Maybe never again. But he was in this critical game.

There were plenty of others who could have stepped up in the four hour and seventeen minute game that left all concerned drained – at least all those in red and blue.

Bianco knew that.

"This one hurts about as much as any game can hurt," he said after his team slipped to 30-17 overall and more importantly 10-12 in Southeastern Conference play. "I thought our guys competed tremendously."

The real blow of the night for the Rebels was an opposite field home run by Tigers six-hole hitter Grant Dozar. R.J. Hively, in relief, got cleanup superstar hitter Raph Rhymes to strike out, and followed that up with a strikeout of Tyler Moore.

But Dozar hit one that carried into the night and nailed the top of the left-field wall as Louisianian Tanner Mathis tried with all his might to haul it in and potentially save the game.

That was in the eighth inning after Ole Miss had scored a run in the sixth and two runs in the seventh to take a 3-2 lead.

The place could sense a victory with Hively pitching so well. Then came that shot to left.

"I left a ball up and he put a good swing on it," said Hively, now 4-4 with the loss. "It wasn't like it was a terrible pitch right down the middle. It was a quality pitch you can live with, but at the same time he did a good job and he put a good barrel on it and it went out."

Barely, but that was all it took.

"That was a big blow for us," said Hively.

The Rebels left 12 men on base in this one. Not necessarily bad for a 13-inning affair. But eight of them were left on in the four extra innings. Hively needed that offensive hero that never appeared.

"We had so many opportunities in extra innings to get a clutch hit," Bianco said. "And we didn't. And (LSU) really had one opportunity with first and third and got an infield hit that scored a run. And that was the ballgame."

Getting back to .500 the rest of this weekend will be difficult for Ole Miss. That's because the Rebels not only pitched ace Bobby Wahl but likely used up Hively.

The flip side is everyone else is available. Mike Mayers takes the hill Saturday, and Brett Huber is available. So are dependable regulars Dylan Chavez, Aaron Greenwood, and Chris Ellis, as well as Josh Laxer and Hawtin Buchanan.

Of course there is also Sunday, and that's been a real problem for the Rebels the past two weekends.

LSU scores a run
Bruce Newman

The pitching was definitely good enough Friday night for Ole Miss to win. And both teams went errorless. The Rebels just couldn't come up with a key hit when they needed it.

"We got into their bullpen, which was good," said Matt Snyder, 2-for-5 with a home run.

Good point. The Tigers used six pitchers in all, and that was after ace Kevin Gausman went 7.2 innings. The fifth of six pitchers, Joey Bourgeois, got the win.

Wahl went seven innings, and Hively went six innings.

"He was tremendous," Bianco said of Hively. "It was almost like he threw a complete game in relief in a pressure-packed game. Gutsy, gutsy performance."

Almost lost in the performance was Wahl's start. He allowed just two early runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

"I didn't have my ‘A' game but I was happy with the way I battled," he said. "You can go (13) innings and have a heartbreaking loss like that. But we can't let it affect us too much. We have to come back out tomorrow and be ready."

Still tied 3-3, Ole Miss had runners in scoring position six times but couldn't get them home with just one more hit. The Tigers finally got to Hively in the 13th. Rhymes with a one-out walk, Tyler Moore with a single, and Dozar, he of earlier home run fame, got what would turn out to ultimately be the winning hit, scoring Rhymes.

LSU moved to 37-10 and 15-7.

Hively said there is no reason for this team to hang its head. There's always tomorrow.

"I'm so proud of this team," the senior right-hander said. "It's not the way we wanted it to go. Looking back, I'm not happy right now. It's not fun when you lose, especially with our fanbase and how they came out and supported us today. Opening night of a big series, you want to come out and get a W. Right now this one is tough to swallow."

Saturday is yet another chance for the Rebels to have a hero step up in a most important game as the regular season moves closer to its conclusion.

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