Thursday and Friday weren’t fun.
Ole Miss (28-12, 10-8) had every opportunity to win the game on Thursday, but dropped a 5-4 decision, and the team left a plethora of Rebels on the base paths on Friday to lose the series. It looked like Saturday was going to complete the sweep for a [checks notes] bad LSU team at Swayze as the Tigers led 9-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Then, magic happened.
To be completely honest, I was in the shower not watching the game when the eighth happened. I already knew what I was going to write today. I didn’t need to see any more. Then, I get a notification on Twitter that T.J. McCants had hit a grand slam to tie the game after the Rebels had pushed across four runs prior to his at-bat with two outs. Dead center, just to the right of the 390 sign. He’s a skinny kid, but he can leave the yard.
GRAND SLAM! TIE BALLGAME!@mccants_tj | #RebsBSB— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) April 24, 2021
Then, Taylor Broadway did Taylor Broadway things and worked around a one-out double in the top of the ninth before giving way to Kemp Alderman in the bottom half to steal the show. Alderman’s redshirt was removed on Tuesday of this week, but he mashed the first pitch he saw into the student section, and he knew it immediately.
ONE PITCH, ONE SWING, AND THE FRESHMAN'S FIRST CAREER BOMB!— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) April 24, 2021
KEMP ALDERMAN, WALK IT OFF! pic.twitter.com/73UG2w7Coy
It’s funny how a bad series can suddenly be much more palatable after a comeback like this. Make no mistake, however: Ole Miss had no business losing this series. The Rebels have now lost four-straight SEC weekends, but with the late-game heroics that were present on Saturday, they now sit at 10-8 in the league instead of 9-9, which is actually a pretty big deal.
You’ve now got two series to prove your worth to the tournament committee as far as a regional host site is concerned: South Carolina at home and Texas A&M on the road. In my opinion, you have to win both of these series to feel good about it. If this was a normal year, you’d have more time to right the ship, but the NCAA announces these postseason sites on May 10, meaning the clock is ticking rather fast. A series win this weekend would have helped a lot, but Saturday’s win needs to be a spark that ignites this team moving forward. It has to be if they want to find a way to accomplish their goals.
What also can’t be ignored from Saturday is that Jack Dougherty, Tyler Myers and Taylor Broadway tossed 5.1 scoreless innings in relief when it seemed like the game was all but over. The Ole Miss bullpen is a problem. That much is well-known. But having those three guys be able to throw clean innings is a must moving forward. Hopefully some other pieces will fall in line along the way out of the pen too.
It wasn’t a great weekend if you look at the big picture, but Saturday was really cool, and hopefully it establishes some momentum moving forward. The Rebels need it, and they need it fast.