BATON ROUGE, La. – Matt Smith went 3-for-3 with a home run, but it wasn’t enough to overcome two errors that led to an early deficit on Sunday as Ole Miss (19-10, 4-5 SEC) fell to No. 17 LSU (20-8, 3-6 SEC) by a score of 8-2.
Smith led a Rebel offense that notched eight hits, but the two early errors helped LSU build a lead that Ole Miss couldn’t overcome in the rubber game of the weekend series. Ole Miss fell by one run in Friday’s game before claiming a 16-3 win on Saturday to even the series.
Austin Wright (3-3) suffered the loss for the Rebels as he allowed eight runs – five earned – on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work.
Ben Alsup (4-3) picked up the win as he worked 8.0 innings and allowed two runs on the Smith home run with two walks and eight strikeouts. The Rebels notched eight hits off Alsup in the outing.
“It was a disappointing effort for us today,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “You can’t do that here (at LSU). We let them get three runs early and get the crowd into the game; they swung the bat well for a few innings. Eric Callender and R.J. Hively did a good job for us down the stretch out of the bullpen.”
LSU scored first on Sunday, using a single and a throwing error on a sac bunt before a walk loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning. A grounder to third from Mikie Mahtook scored the first run as Tyler Hanover was out on the force at third, but a throwing error to first allowed a second run to score and put Mahtook on third. A groundout to short pushed Mahtook home and gave LSU the 3-0 lead in the first inning.
The Tigers added to the lead in the second inning with a solo home run from Alex Edward to go up 4-0.
Two more runs scored in the third as a triple off the wall in centerfield from Mahtook drove in the first run and a single from Austin Nola scored Mahtook to give the Tigers the 6-0 lead on the Rebels.
Ole Miss got two runs back in the fourth when Matt Smith hit a towering shot to left field that scored Blake Newalu. Newalu opened the inning with a bunt single to set up the two-run shot from Smith that cut the lead to 6-2.
Following a pair of singles, the Rebels turned to the bullpen in the bottom of the fourth with one out and two men on for right-hander Eric Callender. Callender got a groundout on a sac bunt, but a single up the middle from Hanover drove in both runners and LSU moved on top 8-2.
Neither team could score after the fourth inning as the defense stepped up for both teams, holding the score at 8-2 for the final margin of victory.
Ole Miss returns to action on Tuesday when the Rebels travel to AutoZone park to take on the Memphis Tigers at 6:30 p.m. The game will close out an eight-game road swing for Ole Miss.
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