Home Run Derby

BATON ROUGE – It all seemed kind of routine for LSU in Thursday night's opener against Ole Miss, a 7-1 Tiger victory highlighted by what LSU has always done best – hit home runs.

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And one of them actually never left the ballpark.

The Tigers posted two runs on four hits in the first inning off this week's first-game starter Mike Mayers. The junior right-hander was moved into the series-opening role due to the fact that regular series starter ace Bobby Wahl got two starts last weekend against Mississippi State – the Friday start that was rain suspended after the top of the first, an ultimate win for Ole Miss 3-0 on Saturday, and the Sunday finale when he pitched 5 and a third innings in a Rebel loss.

Friday night's starter will be regular game three starter Sam Smith, and the scheduled finale starter Saturday afternoon is Wahl.

"The story of the game is 11 hits but 11 singles," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said of his team after it fell to 35-19 overall and 14-14 in the Southeastern Conference. "They had 10 hits but eight extra base hits, four home runs. Of our 11 singles, only one of them with runners in scoring position. They were good tonight."

Mayers might not have been at his very best but LSU was a lot to handle.

"I think it had more to do with them being good than Mike not being effective," Bianco said. "He missed some pitches, but they did some things well. They're a momentum-type team and got some big extra base hits with runners in scoring position. We couldn't stop them."

Mayers wasn't as high on his own performance.

Stuart Turner
Bruce Newman

"They're a good lineup," he said. "I didn't make pitches when I needed to make pitches. They jumped on some decent pitches."

The Tigers (47-7, 22-6) were able to add two more runs in the fourth – both solo home runs, one by Mason Katz and one by Christian Ibarra. That made it 4-0 and the Tigers were in a bit of a cruise control situation.

Tiger starter Cody Glenn was able to go seven innings, allowing eight of those Rebel singles and the one earned run to get the win and move to 6-2. Mayers is now 4-5.

Raph Rhymes' solo homer, an inside the park job, came when a ball got past Rebel center fielder Auston Bousfield and Rhymes raced around the bases to make it 5-0 at the time.

The Rebels' lone run came in the seventh on a Stuart Turner RBI single after Tanner Mathis had gotten aboard with a base hit. Sean McMullen in the bottom of the seventh ended the home run derby for the Tigers for a 6-1 LSU lead.

After LSU added another run in the eighth, the Rebels actually loaded the bases in the ninth but couldn't get anything across.

Mathis, 4-for-4, may have summed it all up best when he simply said, "Lot of singles (for Ole Miss). They had a lot of not singles and a lot of extra base hits."

Mayers said the Tigers are tops offensively as far as he's seen.

"That's the best hitting team we've faced all year," he said. "It will be a good challenge for the rest of our staff the rest of the weekend."

The teams meet in game two at 7 p.m. Friday.

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