Pinch hitter Hayden Travinski blasted a clutch three-run home run in the ninth inning to help No. 1 LSU defeat Ole Miss 7-6 and complete the weekend sweep.
Not only was it Travinski’s first dinger of the year, but it erased a 6-4 Ole Miss lead and it gave LSU its first conference weekend sweep of the season. Ironically, the Rebels swept the Tigers last year at the Box, which changed the complexion of their whole season as they went from a struggling squad to College World Series champions.
With the Rebels in command of a 6-4 lead in the top of the ninth, reliever Mitch Murrell retired the first two LSU batters in the inning. However, first baseman Jared Jones drew a walk, and third baseman Brayden Jobert was hit by a pitch to keep LSU’s hopes alive.
LSU coach Jay Johnson gambled when he decided to put Travinski in such an important part of the game. However, Johnson’s gamble paid off when Travinski unloaded Murrell’s pitch over the left-field wall to give the Tigers a 7-6 lead.
“Hayden has a lot of power, obviously,” Johnson said. “He’s been improving as we’ve been going along. He was hurt in the fall, but he kept working. It’s a combination of baseball improvement, along with maturity and attitude. He’s been a team guy this whole time. He’s a big reason we won the game yesterday, and obviously a big reason we won today. I’m really proud of him and happy for him.”
LSU left-hander Riley Cooper (2-2) was credited with the win after retiring the final Ole Miss batter in the eighth inning. Murrell (2-2) was charged with his second loss of the season as he gave up three runs on one hit in 3.0 innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
LSU right-hander Christian Little gave the Tigers an excellent starting effort, limiting Ole Miss to three runs on six hits in 5.1 innings with one walk and three strikeouts.
LSU grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when centerfielder Dylan Crews lined an RBI single down the middle of the field.
However, the Rebels would tie the game in the bottom of the first when catcher Calvin Harris hit a sacrifice fly. In the bottom of the second, the Rebels would take a 2-1 lead when designated hitter Will Furniss lined an RBI single to the right side of the field.
LSU would regain the lead when shortstop Jordan Thompson and first baseman Jared Jones hit back-to-back RBI singles to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead in the third inning.
In the fifth inning, The Tigers would extend their lead to 4-2 in the fifth when designated hitter Cade Beloso blasted a solo homer to right field, his seventh dinger of the year and second of the series.
Although LSU looked like they were beginning to have firm control of the game in hand, Ole Miss would narrow the gap to 4-3 on first baseman Anthony Calarco’s RBI double in the sixth. The Rebels tied the game when right fielder Kemp Alderman came through with a clutch solo home run, his 17th dinger of the season and his second of the series.
In the bottom of the eighth, designated hitter Judd Utermark gave the Rebels a 6-4 advantage in the eighth inning with a two-run homer, his second dinger of the season. With Utermark’s home run, it looked like Ole Miss had just pulled off a dramatic comeback victory.
However, Travinski’s three-run bomb at the top of the ninth ended the Rebels’ hopes of coming back to defeat its SEC West rivals. Gavin Guidry gave up a one-out double to Ole Miss catcher Calvin Harris in the bottom of the ninth. However, he remained calm and retired the next two Rebel batters to seal the win.
LSU improved to 32-7 overall and 12-5 in the SEC as it completed a series sweep of the Rebels. Ole Miss dropped to 21-19 overall and 3-15 in conference play,
LSU will take on Nicholls at Alex Box Stadium on Tuesday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. CT. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+.