LSU Evens Series as No. 5 Ole Miss Baseball Falls 5-2
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By Davis McCool, Ole MissSports.com
OXFORD, Miss. -- The hits that were falling on Thursday night for No. 5 Ole Miss just didn't find open space on Friday as LSU freshman right-hander Ma'Khail Hilliard kept the Rebel bats stifled in a 5-2 Game 2 defeat.
A record crowd of 11,861 was in attendance for the game, Swayze's second highest attendance of all-time, but LSU evened up the series as Hilliard went seven innings, allowing just one run to deliver just the second loss by more than two runs this season for the Rebels.
Ole Miss starter Brady Feigl turned in a strong performance as well, keeping the game locked at a 1-0 score in favor of the Rebels until the Tigers used a two-run sixth to take the lead and never look back. The Rebels simply couldn't find timely hits to land in the outfield with a speedy Tiger trio locking down the air, while the visitors managed to find the holes, knocking in 10 hits compared to the Rebels' five.
Ole Miss falls to 33-11 on the year, 11-9 in the SEC, while Feigl picks up just his third loss of the season, dropping to 7-3 on the year. It was Feigl's first loss at home this season.
Nick Fortes was the bright spot in the Rebel lineup, going 2-for-3 with the team's only two RBI, including a late solo home run in the eighth inning that helped draw the game close late. Tim Rowe, Cole Zabowski, and Grae Kessinger combined for the team's only other three hits.
Feigl had a near-flawless outing, going 6.2 innings and tying his season high with nine strikeouts today, allowing just two runs late in the sixth on six hits and one walk. Hilliard, his counterpart, was able to outlast the Rebel starter by a third of an inning, but while his bullpen stood triumphant, Ole Miss relievers gave way to shining LSU bats.
Will Stokes relieved Feigl late in the sixth inning, recording just the one out needed to exit the sixth, but allowing three runs on a pair of hits and one walk. Greer Holston followed up his outing, going the final two innings of the game without allowing a run, and striking out two.
At the plate, the Rebels were able to strike first on an RBI single from the bat of Fortes early in the first inning, but Hilliard kept the bats silent while working the remaining six innings without allowing a Rebel run. Ole Miss struck again in the eighth inning on the Fortes homer, a lined shot that easily cleared the left field wall, but it was simply too late for a Rebel rally against a dominant LSU bullpen as the Tigers' top reliever Nick Bush held off a late charge.
The Rebels will return to action tomorrow for the series finale against the Tigers, with James McArthur on the mound against LSU right-hander Todd Peterson, set for a 3 p.m. CT first pitch.
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