As we packed up our coolers and folded our chairs in the wake of Ole Miss's frustrating extra innings loss against LSU on Thursday, my friend turned to me and issued the following prediction: "We're gonna win tomorrow, then get shut out by their TBA pitcher in Game 3. Because that would be the most WAOM way to go out."
I'll be damned if that sonuvabitch wasn't dead on. After splitting the first two games, the Rebel baseball team was blanked in the rubber match on Saturday by a freshman with one career start and a beleaguered Tiger bullpen. There's no shame in dropping a close series to the No. 7 team in the country, but to do like that is the kind of thing that makes you pull your hair out, especially when you consider Ole Miss all but handed LSU a victory in the 13-inning opener.
In any event, the Rebs fall to 10-8 in conference play and drop to third place in the SEC West behind Alabama and LSU. Because the Tide swept us earlier this season, we're essentially three games behind them for the division lead with 12 conference games remaining.
Getting a good seed for the SEC Tournament is great and all, but the real focus down the stretch will be securing a host site for the regionals and perhaps a super. That's still an attainable goal at this point, but the Rebs could have really put themselves in the drivers seat with a win over LSU. A road trip against a ranked Kentucky team looms, and avoiding back-to-back series losses is close to a must at this point.
Last week: 1-2
Overall: 30-11 (10-8 SEC)
Thursday: LSU 4, Ole Miss 3 (13 innings)
The story of this one was a pair of Bill Buckner-esque grounders through the legs that led directly to LSU runs. The first came in the sixth inning when Preston Overbey let one roll under his glove with a man on third and two outs. Errol Robinson was responsible for the second and most damning mistake in the top of the 13th inning. With men on first and second, Josh Laxer got a tailor-made double play ball, but the ball skipped through Robinson's legs and the winning run scored.
The Rebs cheated death once after LSU scored a go-ahead run in the top of the tenth. Will Allen led off the bottom of the frame with a double and J.B. Woodman eventually brought him home with a game-tying sac fly.
Most of us had chalked this one up as a loss before the first pitch, seeing as how LSU was throwing perhaps the hottest pitcher in the country in Aaron Nola. But once the Rebs had Nola out of the game with the score tied at two, they had the perfect opportunity to steal a win. They just couldn't capitalize.
Friday: Ole Miss 5, LSU 1
This was a tight game until the Rebs opened up a three-run lead in the fourth. With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning, Auston Bousfield looped a shallow pop up into foul territory down the right field line. LSU right fielder Mark Laird, who'd been receiving particularly rough treatment from the students, charged hard and looked ready to get the Tigers out of the inning, but had the ball bounce off his mit. He then had a loooong walk back to his position in the teeth of some of the loudest and abusive hate I've ever heard out of Right Field. It was beautiful. Boz tagged the next pitch up the middle for a two-run single.
Christian Trent was dominant on the mound, going seven innings and allowing just one unearned run. Scott Weathersby worked two hitless innings to close it out.
Saturday: LSU 2, Ole Miss 0
My friend wasn't the only one making semi-accurate predictions for the rubber game. Here's what I wrote on Saturday morning, just before LSU announced they were starting a freshman with one career start:
[LSU] is 1-3-1 on Sundays in conference play, so the Rebs have the advantage on the mound. Or some true freshman that's never had a start could come in and throw a shutout. Who knows.
Alden Cartwright didn't throw a complete game, but he did work four scoreless innings in which he allowed just two hits. The Tigers shorthanded relief corps then finished it off. Ole Miss managed just six hits while being shut out for the first time all season.
Sam Smith was tagged with his third loss of the year, but outside of an eighth-inning home run, he was great. He worked 7⅓, giving up two runs off five hits.
Past the foul pole
- Hide ya kids, hide ya wife. Mark Laird's in town.
- Noted hater and Red Cup contributor The Nkemist put together some hate sheets through a little social media stalking and some good ol' fashion Microsoft Word. He's one diabolical bastard.
It's this kind of stuff that draws these kind of statements. Well done students.
Mark Laird on the right field student section at Swayze: "They're ruthless." #LSU— Ross Dellenger (@DellengerAdv) April 19, 2014
- There was an LSU girl out in Right Field on Saturday that was being particularly obnoxious for most of the game. She really stepped up the ass clownery after the Tiger win, loudly taunting Rebel fans as they dejectedly packed up their belongings. This didn't sit well with one student, who walked up to her, looked her dead in the face and casually upturned his beer on her head. Shortly thereafter, another guy approached her, handed her a one dollar bill and said in an even tone, "Sorry about Katrina."
I'm usually not a proponent of doing dickish things to opposing fans, but this chick was asking for it. If you act like an asshole in a rival team's student section, you get a beer poured on you. That's just the way the universe operates.
Tweet of the week
OK so this is pretty nuts. Keep in mind it happened on Easter weekend.
Wait, so does this mean… Will Allen is Jesus? #StrongTower
April 22: vs. Mississippi State (Governor's Cup in Pearl)
April 25-27: at Kentucky