Ole Miss treated LSU senior left-hander Jared Poché as if he was the designated thrower in a home run derby, and the Tigers offense couldn't follow suit as the Rebels evened the series with a 4-1 win Friday at Alex Box Stadium.
"Obviously the difference in the game is that they hit four solo home runs and we didn't," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said.
Ole Miss (22-13, 7-7 Southeastern Conference) took advantage of the winds whipping out to left field by smacking four solo home runs off Poché (6-2) to that side of the field, though most of them looked like they would've left the park comfortably without the wind.
Second baseman Tate Blackman was responsible for two of those homers, including one to lead off the game when he blasted a 3-1 pitch from Poché over the fence to give the Rebels a quick 1-0 lead.
Poché appeared to quickly put that behind him, retiring the next 10 batters he faced — including five by strikeout. The senior finished with a career-high nine strikeouts.
But Poché's streak ended when Ole Miss third baseman Colby Bortles hit a solo shot with one out in the fourth. Two batters later, Ryan Olenek followed with a monster blast of his own to left field.
Blackman's second homer of the night led off the Ole Miss sixth, giving the Rebels a 4-1 lead. Poché then retired five of his next six batters. He left the game after seven innings, having struck out a career-high nine batters.
It was that sort of night for Poché. The Rebels didn't touch him for long stretches — but when they did, they made them count.
Only six batters reached base against Poché. One of them was caught stealing. Four others hit home runs.
"I thought Jared pitched his heart out except for those four pitches," Mainieri said. "It was tough luck. Outside of that, he pitched a really good ball game and we just couldn't get enough offense going to support him."
LSU (24-12, 8-6) was not able to take advantage of the big wind, and it was unsuccessful stringing together hits.
"We just couldn't deliver a two-out hit," Mainieri said. "When we got our runners in scoring position, it was with two outs, and it's hard to get two-out hits; I know that. But tonight we just couldn't get those hits, and they ... got four runs with four swings of the bat."
Though the Tigers put runners on base in eight of the nine innings — including seven runners who made it to scoring position — they frequently ended the inning without the big hit.
A night after scoring 12 two-out runs, LSU went 0 for 8 with two outs Friday and just 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
Ole Miss left-hander David Parkinson (5-2) handed the game over to the bullpen in the seventh inning, and closer Dallas Woolfolk struck out three of the five batters he faced to record a four-out save.
"You can't really control it. You've just got to keep hitting the ball hard," said freshman third baseman Josh Smith, who had LSU's lone hit with runners in scoring position Friday. "Whatever happens after it leaves the barrel happens."
LSU, which had a four-game win streak snapped Friday, will send freshman right-hander Eric Walker to the mound at 2 p.m. Saturday in the series finale.
"It wasn't our night, and that's the way it happens sometimes in this game," Mainieri said. "We've got to come back (Saturday) and hopefully give ourselves a chance to win this series."