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No. 9 Ole Miss defeats No. 8 LSU 8-2 to take series

No. 9 Ole Miss defeats No. 8 LSU 8-2 to take series

OXFORD – Following Saturday’s win over LSU, Ole Miss freshman right-handed pitcher James McArthur called J.B. Woodman “Superman.” Woodman smiled and laughed at the compliment.

Though Woodman doesn’t consider himself Superman, the center fielder came up huge for Ole Miss all weekend long against No. 8 LSU and helped the ninth-ranked Rebels (33-12, 12-9 Southeastern Conference) defeat the Tigers 8-2 Saturday afternoon.

The win gives the Rebels the series, 2-1, and head coach Mike Bianco a series win over his alma mater. Bianco, who played at LSU from 1988-89 and later served as an assistant coach at the school from 1993-97, knew the win was important for his Rebels.

We needed this one in a sense that we needed to beat a team that’s right there with us. We have had a great year, but we haven’t played our best ball against the best teams.

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco

Nine of Ole Miss’ 33 wins this season have been against ranked teams.

First inning beer showers

Rebels beat LSU

Following Woodman’s home run was Bortles. (Photo credit: Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics)

In the first inning, Woodman homered to center field – with Tate Blackman on base – to score the game’s first two runs. The next batter up was Bortles—who promptly homered to right field for his sixth home run of the season.

Despite having a weather delay for exactly 46 minutes in the second inning, the Rebels didn’t show any rust when the game resumed, as Cameron Dishon doubled down the left field line and plated Will Golsan to give Ole Miss a 3-0 lead at the end of three.

Then, in the bottom of the fifth with Blackman on base, Woodman took another monster swing and the resulting hit sounded like a firecracker as bat met ball. The result was Woodman’s second home run of the afternoon – his eighth on the season – which scored two runs and gave the Rebels a comfortable 7-0 lead.

“He’s just been seeing it well and defensively, too,” McArthur said about Woodman. “He’s just a great guy to have on the field right now.”

Here’s a look (below) at a spectacular catch in the outfield by Woodman/Superman:

Rebels’ solid pitching contains LSU

McArthur, the current SEC Freshman of the week, threw 76 pitches and had two strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work. He did not allow a run, despite having to sit through two rain delays.

Freshman RHP Andy Pagnozzi (7-2) took over in relief and pitched 3.2 scoreless innings, throwing 54 pitches and notching three strikeouts.

Will Stokes came in and pitched two scoreless innings, only giving up one hit. Bianco was proud of his pitching staff.

Pagnozzi came in there and did what he does — he has lots of guts and made some pitches. He gave us good innings to get Stokes on the mound in the eighth.

Mike Bianco

Woodman reigns at the plate

Four Ole Miss batters had at least two hits in Saturday’s finale, and Blackman and each Bortles tallied three hits on four opportunities at bat.

But it was Woodman who had the biggest game of all. He followed Thursday and Friday’s 4 for 8 effort at bat with a 2 for 4 performance and helped the Rebels clinch the series and stay in the hunt for the SEC West title. He scored three runs while hitting .331.

Ole Miss focused on finishing strong

Woodman and the Rebels realize the importance of finishing strong.

We just have to continue to play well. We put ourselves in a pretty good spot right now and we just need to continue to play well every weekend, basically.

J.B. Woodman

It looked to be a shutout until the bottom of the eighth when Tigers’ third baseman Chris Reid scored off Bryce Jordan’s single to left center field. Jordan, then, crossed the dish off Antoine Duplantis’ reach on a fielder’s choice.

McArthur picked up the win for the Rebels. LSU used six pitchers, with its starting pitcher John Valek III (6-2) suffering defeat on the mound after giving up four runs on four hits.

Next up

Ole Miss hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. CST on SEC Network+.

About The Author

Courtney Smith

Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men's basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.

1 Comment

  1. carl Tetrick

    Congrats Rebels on your winning LSU series 2 games to 1. Keep up the great work.


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