OXFORD, Miss. –Zach Kirksey hit a solo home run in the fourth inning to spark a three-run rally before Auston Bousfield added a two-run home run in the seventh to put the game out of reach as No. 24 Ole Miss (31-17, 11-12 SEC) downed No. 4 LSU (37-11, 15-8 SEC) by a score of 7-4 on Saturday to even the weekend series.
The bullpen was solid for the Rebels as three pitchers combined to hold LSU off the board over the last 5.0 innings of play and give Ole Miss the opportunity to grab the win. Tanner Bailey (2-1) picked up the relief win, working 2.0 innings of two-hit ball with two strikeouts. Chris Ellis then worked an inning before Ole Miss called on Brett Huber to close things out in the eighth.
Huber picked up his eighth save of the season, allowing one hit with a walk and a strikeout in his 2.0 innings of work. He is now tied with Justin Huisman for second all-time in saves at Ole Miss with 24 for his career.
Kurt McCune (2-4) suffered the loss for LSU, allowing a run on three hits with a walk in 1.2 innings of relief work. He entered the game in the fifth and allowed the go-ahead run in the sixth before coming out of the game.
“Today a lot of the headlines will to the offense with 12 hits and 7 runs,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “But, it was big for our pitchers to put up zeros after giving four runs in the fourth. Tanner (Bailey) came in and got a double play and that kept the momentum on our side. We were able to come back, score three and tie it up. The bullpen was great.”
The Rebels scored first on Saturday coming up with a single run in the first inning when Tanner Mathis scored from third on a groundout to short from Alex Yarbrough. Mathis reached on a lead-off single before moving to second on a wild pitch. A sac bunt from Andrew Mistone pushed him to third and set up the score on the Yarbrough ball.
LSU responded in the fourth, plating four runs with a big inning that was sparked by a walk and a hit batter in back-to-back pitches with one out. Tyler Moore then drove in the first run with a single to right center that put men at the corners before a sac bunt from Grant Dozar scored Raph Rhymes from third. Will Allen fielded the ball off the bunt and dove for Rhymes who was sliding in at home, but was unable to make the tag in time as Rhymes crossed the plate for the second run of the inning.
With two outs on the board, a walk of Tyler Hanover put two men on base for the Tigers before JaCoby Jones hit a two-RBI double to center field to give LSU the 4-1 lead.
Ole Miss answered the LSU rally with one of its own in the bottom of the frame, starting things off with a solo shot from Kirksey to cut the lead in half. A walk of Auston Bousfield and a single from Austin Anderson put two men on before back-to-back RBI-singles from Mathis and Mistone would tie the score at four.
A double from Will Jamison and an RBI single from Mathis put Ole Miss on top 5-4 in the sixth inning as the Rebels moved in front for good.
Ole Miss extended the lead in the seventh inning when Bousfield delivered his first career home run, a two-run shot down the left field line that hit the foul pole to give the Rebels the 7-4 lead. Senquez Golson scored on the hit after entering the game to pinch run for Will Allen who reached base with a lead-off walk.
Ole Miss and LSU will play the final game of the series at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday as each team looks to claim the series with a victory.
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