By: Jeff Roberson
Some games are more important than others for different reasons. Same thing for certain series.
LSU at Ole Miss this weekend, for example; specifically game three after the teams split the first two. A very important finale for both teams.
With identical 10-8 Southeastern Conference marks coming into the weekend , and rankings and RPI in about the same ballpark, everybody knew this one could mean a leg up for a host spot in early June
Sure, all games count, and there are quite a few of them left. But as seasons play out, some just matter more.
Ole Miss beat LSU 8-2 Saturday. It was one of the more complete games of the season for the Rebels.
It was the first home game all year when there was a tarp pull because of rain. That might not seem like a big deal, but it is.
For example, pitcher James McArthur. The freshman righty from New Braunfels, Texas, was making his first weekend start. Then the 11 a.m. start time was delayed a bit. Then there was a 46-minute rain delay in the third inning with Ole Miss up 3-0.
That’s a lot to work through for a starting pitcher to “stay in the game” if you will. McArthur went back out after the rain delay and lasted into the fourth. His team was up 4-0 at that point. He’d allowed four hits and walked four with two strikeouts. But no runs, and that was the key stat.
So as the season turns to May, Ole Miss’ weekend starters are, once again, set. Or reset. Brady Bramlett, David Parkinson, and James McArthur give Ole Miss a chance every time out.
That’s especially so if the Rebel offense cranks out 31 hits, as it did this weekend. And averages six runs or more, which it also did this weekend.
The series was also all about timely hits. LSU had 33 hits but only scored 14 runs. Ole Miss’ 31 hits contributed to 18 runs.
The category that counted the most was the win column. And Ole Miss moved past the Tigers there. The Rebels are now 33-12 overall and 12-9 in SEC play. LSU is 28-16, 11-10.
After Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Wednesday night at home, Ole Miss heads to Georgia, returns home to host Kentucky, and finishes up the regular season at Texas A&M. All difficult assignments. All winnable series, however, especially given the way the Rebels are playing at the calendar turn.
Although there were several superlatives this weekend, nobody was close to matching those by J.B. Woodman. His defensive highlights were so spectacular he made ESPN Sports Center’s Top Ten Thursday night with two of his throws to Henri Lartigue at home plate to prevent Tiger runs. Those were huge in a 7-6 UM win.
Woodman had another assist in the same fashion in the Tigers’ lone win of the series, a Friday night 6-3 final score. In the last game there was a roar of laughter and some applause from the crowd when Woodman fielded a ball and a LSU runner from second stopped at third. Enough already.
With eight RBI and three home runs, along with a diving catch for an out Saturday and other defensive gems, Woodman had a big-league weekend in every facet.
He wasn’t all though. The Rebels had a collective team effort to claim this important series.
They got done what they needed to and now move on to May as a contender for a lot of their goals for this regular season and postseason.