BATON ROUGE, La. — Ole Miss fans are known to have an affinity for Solo cups. But on Friday night, it was solo shots that the Rebel baseball team was enjoying.
LSU starting pitcher Jared Poché was brilliant — outside of four pitches where he wasn’t. Poché set a new career high with nine strikeouts in 7 innings, but the Rebels clubbed four solo home runs against him in a 4-1 win over the Tigers. All but one of Mississippi’s hits off Poché were homers. Coming into the game, the senior from Lutcher, La. had allowed four total home runs in eight starts.
Ole Miss second baseman Tate Blackman led the way with two long balls, including one to lead off the game. Poché retired 10 straight batters after the leadoff homer, but was victimized by a Colby Bortles homer in the fourth. Two batters later, Nick Fortes made Poché (6-2) pay with a shot that cleared the left field bleachers altogether.
Blackman’s second homer led off the sixth inning.
“(Ole Miss) hadn’t displayed a lot of power coming into the game, but tonight they hit four out,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “When you don’t hit home runs, you’re at the mercy of the baseball gods. Do the balls find holes? We didn’t hit a large quantity of hard balls tonight, but we hit some. We just didn’t have any luck. They made great plays or they were right at somebody.”
Stat of the game: Men on base
Mississippi’s batting average with runners on base against Poché? How about .000.
Because of their reliance on solo home runs, the Rebels rarely had baserunners against LSU’s starter. Ole Miss went 0-for-2 with men on base in the first 7 innings and 0-for-5 in the game as a whole.
LSU’s average with men on wasn’t much better at .117, but the Tigers had far more opportunities. LSU was 2 of 17 with men on base and an even-worse 1 of 11 with men in scoring position. The seventh and eighth were particularly painful as LSU runners were left stranded on third base both innings.
Player of the game
A day after LSU spanked Ole Miss for 15 runs, lefty David Parkinson calmed down the Tigers’ bats. Parkinson (5-2) sprinkled 6 hits in 6.1 innings and did not issue a walk.
Zach Watson doubled in the second to increase his hitting streak to a team-high 11 games and his reached-base streak to a team-high 23 games. Greg Deichmann singled in the sixth to extend his personal hitting streak to eight games.
What’s next for LSU baseball?
The Tigers (24-12, 8-6 SEC) and Rebels (22-13, 7-7) face off in the rubber game of the series, which gets underway at 2 p.m. CST from Alex Box Stadium. Ole Miss is looking for its first series win at LSU since 1982. The game will be streamed online via SEC Network-Plus.