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Tigers Aggressive Offense Takes SEC Opener From Rebels, 6-4

After a slow start, LSU's attack on Christian Trent began in earnest in the 3rd. Andrew Stevenson used his great speed to out run a slow roller just past the mound on the 1B side, then a Jared Foster pop to short right got lost in the lights, putting another man on. Stevenson stayed aggressive by stealing 3rd, allowing him to score on a GIDP to 2B by Danny Zardon. The Tigers really turned it on in the 4th and made Ole Miss pay dearly for some defensive mistakes. With Mark Laird on, Alex Bregman got on in error when Rebel SS Robinson let the ball get by his glove. Chris Chinea grounded out to put the runners in scoring position, then Connor Hale sent a sharp liner to the edge of the right corner. OM RF Cameron Dishon miss judged it off the bat and the ball went past him all the way to the wall, good enough for a 2 RBI double. Later in the inning, Stevenson got a ground ball past the defense into center field, giving Hale enough time to score from 2B. In the 6th inning, after Ole Miss had cut the lead to 4-2, the Tigers worked to widen the gap again. A great bomb of a home run just to the right of the left field bleachers by Alex Bregman gave the Tigers one, then 2 2-out singles put runners on the corners, allowing Hale to score from 3B on a wild pitch, giving LSU the final 6-4 lead. All of this happened against Trent, who was not relieved until the 8th inning. There's a nice bit of satisfaction to be derived from beating up a former LSU dismissal for 6 runs on 9 hits and only 3 Ks.

Jared Poche came into the night looking to avenge his 5-1 loss to Trent and Ole Miss last year. He started off his night on the mound with a leadoff walk, but quickly got himself settled to K 4 of the next 6 batters. He would keep the Rebels off the board until the 5th, where a single-double-single sequence by the bottom of the Ole Miss order scored 2 runs and cut the LSU lead in half. Poche was able to get out of the inning on his own and gave up another single in the 6th before being relieved by Alden Cartwright. Cartwright was effective enough to get LSU out of the 6th, but he was replaced with 1 out and a runner on in the 7th by Hunter Devall, who immediately gave up a 2 run home run to JB Woodman and another single. The suddenly nervous crowd began shouting at Mainieri to get someone else on the mound and he obliged them, bringing in sidewinder Collin Strall to end the inning without further damage. Zac Person pitched the 8th and easily handled the bottom of the Ole Miss order, then closer Jesse Stallings took over in the 9th against the top of the order. Though he did give up a 2 out walk, Stalllings was able to finish the game in his fireball style, earning his nation-leading 8th save of the year.

A good night overall, as any the results in an Ole Miss loss is, but I'm a bit concerned with the bullpen use LSU had. Though the 5 relievers were not used more than 1.1 IP each, I really wish Poche was effective enough to get more than 5 innings out of him. Conference play has started and LSU is going to need more than that out of him to accomplish it's goals for the year. Of course, with an offense that can do what it did against a great Ole Miss starter, maybe we don't have to worry about the pitching so much.

Box Score

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