By: Jeff Roberson
Ole Miss and LSU battled for nearly four hours Thursday night. It took some excellent defensive plays, clutch hitting, and both their closers for the Rebels to win the series opener 7-6.
"It was one of those ugly great college baseball games,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco after his team improved to 32-11 overall and 11-8 in Southeastern Conference play.
“Some mistakes were made and neither ace looked like they had their best stuff tonight. But there was some great hitting and some great defensive plays. Certainly (it was) an entertaining game to watch and to be a part of.”
Rebel ace Brady Bramlett wasn’t his best from the get-go, and LSU took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. But the Rebels came back with two runs of their own off LSU starter Jared Poche' in the bottom of the first, and that was the storyline throughout the game.
Every time LSU scored, Ole Miss answered. When the Tigers went up 4-2 in the third, Ole Miss scored two in the bottom of the inning. The big inning for Ole Miss was the sixth, which came after LSU got a run in the top of the inning for a 5-4 lead.
The Rebels then answered and more with three runs in the bottom of the sixth for a 7-5 lead and led the rest of the way.
“I thought that was the whole game,” Bianco said. “The three times they scored, we were able to answer back every time, either tie it up or take the lead.”
As for Bramlett, Bianco said, "You don’t know if it’s short rest. You don’t know if it’s his day to have a bad day. But his fast ball lacked a few miles an hour, and his command wasn’t there.”
Two of the more spectacular plays of the game were from J.B. Woodman, who threw out two LSU runners at the plate from center field on two different occasions. They prevented what would have been two more Tiger runs, but Henri Lartigue was able to tag both out.
“I think that’s eight assists now. He’s got a knack for it,” Bianco said. “I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. He charges the ball great and then gets his body back under control. And he’s extremely accurate. He’s been sensational and made some huge plays for us.”
Ole Miss and LSU had 11 hits each. The Tigers’ record is now 27-15 and 10-9.
"Big hits. Big night for Errol (Robinson). Big night for Tate (Blackman). Big night for J.B,” Bianco said. “We were able to get some clutch hits.”
Reliever Brady Feigl got the win (4-0). Will Stokes and Wyatt Short combined for the final three innings with Short getting his seventh save of the season.
Game two is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday.