LSU finishes sweep vs. Ole Miss in regular-season finale

LSU scored six runs in the fourth inning Saturday afternoon — highlighted by a grand slam from star Tommy White on the first pitch of his at-bat — and the Tigers finished off a three-game sweep of Ole Miss with a 9-3 win at Alex Box Stadium in the regular-season finale for both teams. Ole Miss (27-28, 11-19 SEC) finishes the regular season under .500 for the second year in a row.

Ole Miss is the No. 12 seed in next week’s SEC Tournament and plays No. 5 seed Mississippi State on Tuesday at 8 p.m. While the Rebels have a solid RPI and strength of schedule, a team must conclude play prior to the NCAA Tournament over .500 to be eligible for an at-large bid, meaning Ole Miss will have to win multiple games in the SEC Tournament to earn at-large consideration or win the tournament to get the league’s automatic bid.

Ole Miss had just one hit with runners in scoring position in three games against LSU, a single in the seventh inning Saturday from sophomore first baseman Will Furniss that drove in a run. White hit two home runs Saturday and three over the weekend.

“Tough weekend. We don’t swing it well all weekend. Before the six runs in the fourth was the top of the fourth, where we had second and third, no outs, and don’t score,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. “And so, we have to be better in all phases.”

LSU (36-20, 13-17) jumped out to a lead on a two-out, two-run double by designated hitter Hayden Travinski in the bottom of the first inning. Junior Mason Nichols started for Ole Miss and pitched three innings, giving up four earned runs with one strikeout and three walks. He left the game with two runners on and no outs in the fourth and was replaced by sophomore Mason Morris. Morris walked his first batter to load the bases, and an RBI single from Alex Milazzo made it 3-0. Sophomore Brayden Jones entered for Morris the next at-bat, and a single from Michael Braswell and the grand slam from White gave the Tigers an eight-run lead.

The Rebels’ first run came on a sacrifice fly from senior second baseman Reagan Burford in the sixth, and Ole Miss scored two more in the seventh on an RBI groundout from sophomore shortstop Luke Hill and the RBI base hit from Furniss.

“What happened is what’s happened to us a lot this year, way too much. We just couldn’t get off the field,” Bianco said. “And instead of giving up a couple, one or maybe two runs, we give up six. And when you give up runs like that in one inning, it’s hard to survive.”