BLOG: After splitting the first two games, the three-game set between No. 4 LSU and No. 24 Ole Miss comes down to today’s rubber match.
First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m.
TRY No. 3: R.J. Hively has been successful in his move to the pen. The Rebels, however, are 0-for-2 in Sunday games since the switch.
After Sam Smith and Tanner Bailey struggled against Arkansas and Mississippi State respectively, the Rebels (31-17 overall, 11-12 SEC) turn to former setup man Dylan Chavez.
The left-handed junior is 3-3 on the year with a 3.27 ERA. In 33 innings, the JUCO transfer has struck out 35 and walked four. Opponents are hitting just .244 off of him.
Last weekend in Starkville, Chavez relieved Bailey in the first inning and after plunking two he regrouped and was charged with zero earned runs over 4.1 innings. Against the Bulldogs, Chavez struck out three while allowing one hit in the season-long outing.
LSU will send freshman Aaron Nola to the hill.
After starting the season in the bullpen, Nola has made 10 consecutive starts for the Tigers (37-11, 15-8) and is 5-2 on the year with a 3.90 ERA. In 55.1 innings, Nola has struck out 54 against four walks. Opponents are hitting .243 off of the freshman.
In his last two starts, Nola has seen his ERA increase after surrendering four runs on 0 hits in five innings at Kentucky April 22, and then another four runs on 10 hits in 4.2 innings against Georgia last weekend.
For what it’s worth, Nola has not fared well against Magnolia State teams. Against Mississippi State on March 18, Nola surrendered six runs (five earned ) in six innings. On April 11, Nola was one of eight Tigers to pitch during the mid-week game and surrendered two runs (one earned) on two hits in one inning.
No. 4 LSU TIGERS (37-11, 15-8)
CF Arby Fields (.247BA/ .292 OBP/ .360 SLG)
SS Austin Nola (.298/.412/.435)
1B Mason Katz (.329/.429/.559)
LF Raph Rhymes (.497/.537/.617)
RF Alex Edward (.281/.343/.312)
DH Jordy Snikeris (.306/.352/.408)
C Ty Ross (.302/.359/.389)
3B Tyler Hanover (.289/.376/.361)
2B JaCoby Jones (.256/.304/.361)
RHP Aaron Nola (5-2, 3.90)
No. 24 OLE MISS REBELS (31-17, 11-12)
LF Tanner Mathis (.339/.446/.376)
3B Andrew Mistone (.252/.311/.313)
2B Alex Yarbrough (.400/.447/.553)
1B Matt Snyder (.348/.409/.619)
C Will Allen (.338/.365/.444)
DH Zach Kirksey (.299/.395/.692)
CF Auston Bousfield (.274/.346/.321)
SS Austin Anderson (.232/.354/.305)
RF Will Jamison (.254/.297/.356)
LHP Dylan Chavez (3-3, 3.27)
LSU 2, Ole Miss 0 (Top 2): As was the case at Mississippi State last weekend, early freebies hurt the Rebels against LSU. After left fielder Raph Rhymes and designated hitter Jordy Snickeris reached on a single and HBP, second baseman JaCoby Jones scored them with a double past Ole Miss third baseman Andrew Mistone. Rebel LHP Dylan Chavez also plunked LSU third baseman Tyler Hanover during the frame.
OLE MISS 2, LSU 2 (BOTTOM 3): Ole Miss first baseman Matt Snyder tied the game with a two-run single off the right field wall. Mistone scored easily from third. Second baseman Alex Yarbrough, running hard from first, would have been out at home but catcher Ty Ross dropped the relay throw. It would have been a bang-bang play regardless.
LSU 7, Ole Miss 2 (Top 4): It didn’t take long for LSU to retaliate. Ross planted a 1-0 pitch from Chavez into the Ole Miss bullpen to lead off the third. Ross’ third homer of the season ended Chavez’s day. Tuesday’s hero against Southern Miss in Pearl, Josh Laxer, took over in place of the southpaw. The switch didn’t slow the Tigers. After a groundout, Laxer surrendered back-to-back singles before shortstop Austin Nola blasted a three-run homer over the left field wall. Ole Miss’ third pitcher of the inning, Aaron Greenwood, didn’t have a perfect introduction to the game either, walking in LSU’s fifth run of the frame before getting a fly out to end it.
LSU 12, Ole Miss 2 (Top 6): First baseman Mason Katz led off the sixth with a solo homer over the left field wall. Four batters later, Ross extended LSU’s lead with a fly to shallow center that scored Tyler Moore from third. Later in the inning, Jones hit a three-run homer into the Ole Miss bullpen.
LSU 12, OLE MISS 3 (Bottom 7): Center fielder Auston Bousfield hit his second homer in as many days to lead off the bottom of the seventh.
THAT’S A WRAP: LSU starter Aaron Nola (6-2) earned the win after allowing three runs in seven innings, while Chavez (3-4) was saddled with the loss… Jones, a Mississippi native, had a big day for the Tigers going 3-for-5 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Jones’ three-run homer was his third long ball of the season. He also hit a double… Yarbrough led Ole Miss at the plate with a 3-for-4 day… Relief pitcher Casey Mulholland was the lone Rebel pitcher to not allow a run. The freshman right-hander pitched two scoreless frames to cap the weekend.
COULD HIVELY RETURN TO BEING A STARTER? Asked if former starter R.J. Hively could return to his former role, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said it wasn’t likely.
“I’m sure you could say we could have (used) Hively today, but I think Hively is so good at the end of the game that it’s smart to keep him where he is,” Bianco said. “It’s nice to have (Brett) Huber when Hively gets extended.”
With it being finals week, the Rebels will have the next couple of days off and won’t return to the diamond until hosting Tennessee for a three-game set this weekend.
(May 6, 2012)