Ole Miss won their midweek game against Little Rock with ease. That was expected. The Rebels then lost the first 2 games of a weekend series against an underwhelming LSU squad. That was not expected. If it wasn’t for a miracle 8th inning that salvaged game 3 of the weekend, Ole Miss would be completely out of the hosting conversation.
Derek Diamond got the start in Game 1 and had a nice outing. He earned 1 of the 3 runs that crossed the plate during his 6 innings of work and was in line for the win when he left the game. Broadway came in to try to clean up a messy 6th inning, but failed. Bianco wanted to avoid letting the bullpen ruin another game and went right to the closer for 9 outs. Unfortunately for the Rebs, Broadway gave up a 2 out single followed by a homer in the 7th to give LSU the lead.
With bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th and a chance to tie the game, Ole Miss did what Ole Miss does best. They left them loaded. Broadway was handed his first loss of the season and the weekend was off to a bad start.
An abysmal .190 average with runners on and .111 average with guys in scoring position is the unfortunate norm for the Rebels nowadays. Cael Baker’s 3-5 day was wasted by the inability to hit with traffic on the bases, as were the 3 long balls that amassed a total of 4 runs. Kudos to Gonzalez for being the only Rebel to drive in one of his teammates.
Game 2 seemed like a sure fire way to get the series even. It was Doug Day and the Rebels haven’t lost Game 2 of a series since May of 2019. The Rebs, however, were eager to keep their series losing streak alive.
The game was scoreless through 5 frames, but Doug eventually allowed 2 runs in the 6th. Despite recording the quality start, he would end up taking the loss. The offense did manage to get 2 runs, which would have tied it if asking this pen for a few scoreless innings wasn’t far too much. Jackson Kimbrell allowed a grand slam in the top of the 9th, and then an insurance run just to make sure the Rebs were buried.
The offense managed 10 hits, but they were too scattered to plate enough runs. LSU pitcher AJ Labas could not get chased all game. He pitched 9 innings on 126 pitches. He mastered the Ole Miss lineup by pitching for contact and working in and out of trouble.
Ole Miss did not leave the bases loaded a single time in this game (amazing!), but that is mostly due to the fact that they did not get an opportunity to dig in with 3 runners on. They went 1-10 with runners in scoring position and continued to look lost at the plate in big moments.
Game 3 came and Ole Miss was in great position to be swept. After going down 9-1 in the 5th inning. That is when the freshmen decided they would take over and win this one.
Drew McDaniel got tagged early and often in this game. 2.2 innings of work yielded 6 runs and 9 hits. Out of the 17 batters he faced, less than half of them made outs. Miller took over in the 4th and also allowed 2 runs to score before Dougherty came in and, of course, allowed a run as well.
Credit to the freshman Dougherty though, he recorded 10 outs while only allowing 1 run on 1 hit. It was this freshman’s strong outing, as well as the 0s put up in the 8th and 9th by Myers and Broadway, that allowed Ole Miss to ride an 8 run 8th to victory.
Broadway picked up the win, but McCants deserves all the credit. After the offense went 0-3 with the bases loaded in the 7th (because of course they had to leave them loaded in glorious fashion to make up for last game), the freshman changed the narrative. Down 9-5 with 2 outs in the 8th, McCants gave Rebel fans hope for the future by lifting a grand slam to straight away center. This came after Chatagnier hit a 3-run bomb with 2 outs in the inning and Gonzalez (another freshman) got the scoring going with a 2 out RBI single. It was truly a miraculous inning and helped lift the Rebels’ average with 2 outs to .467 in the contest.
As if the freshmen hadn’t done enough in the game, Kemp Alderman led off the 9th representing the winning run. He didn’t want to leave it up to his teammates, however, to win this one. First pitch of the bottom of the 9th he hammered toward the student section and earned himself his first career beer shower. The trio of freshies went 7-13 at the plate with 6 RBI. Rebels won a wild finale 10-9 and kept themselves from dropping to .500 in conference play.
Ole Miss does not have a midweek game this week so maybe they will work on, well, everything (freshmen excluded). A strong South Carolina team will visit the Rebels next weekend. If Ole Miss losses the series that will be a whopping 5 in a row, but as long as they avoid the sweep they will remain above .500 in the SEC thanks to the 6-0 start to the conference season. Ole Miss would need to win the series, if not pick up a sweep, to keep any hope alive that they might host a regional. The NCAA will be announcing the host sites in just 2 weeks rather than at the end of the year, so Ole Miss needs to start their late season push ASAP. Unfortunately for the Rebels, and their spectacular freshmen, it looks like this season is officially lost.