Late-inning drama: Hayden Travinski’s ninth-inning, three-run homer rallies No. 1 LSU past Ole Miss to sweep Rebels

Pinch-hitter sends Tigers past defending national champions

Christian Little
Christian Little delivered his best pitching performance of the season to date, but LSU had to rely on a ninth-inning, pinch-hit three-run home run from Hayden Travinski to seal the deal on Sunday against Ole Miss.

Pinch-hitter Hayden Travinski crushed a two-out, three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to rally LSU past Ole Miss, 7-6, at Swayze Field in Oxford, and give the No. 1 Tigers their first Southeastern Conference sweep of the season.

Travinski’s homer, his first of the season, erased a 6-4 Ole Miss lead. Right-handed freshman Gavin Guidry pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the win for his first save.

LSU (32-7, 12-5 in SEC) had stranded 12 base runners during the game before Travinski delivered the winning blow for the Tigers.

Riley Cooper (2-2) was the winning pitcher in relief with a third of an inning to his credit and Guidry polished off the ninth, holding defending national champion Ole Miss (21-19, 3-15) and finished off the Rebels.

Rebels right-hander reliever Mitch Murrell (2-2) suffered the loss. He pitched three complete innings and held LSU scoreless until Travinski barreled up on his two-strike fastball with two outs in the top of the ninth for the game-winning hit.

With Ole Miss holding a 6-4 lead in the top of the ninth, Murrell retired the first two batters in the inning. However, first baseman Jared Jones drew a walk, and third baseman Brayden Jobert was hit by a pitch to keep the inning alive.

LSU coach Jay Johnson inserted Travinski into the game for catcher Alex Milazzo, and he responded by unloading a Murrell fastball over the left-field wall.

“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.”

Guidry gave up a one-out double to Ole Miss catcher Calvin Harris in the bottom of the ninth, but he retired the next two Rebel batters to seal the win. He got Ethan Lege to fly out to left fielder Andrew Stevenson on the warning track for the second out.

LSU grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when center fielder Dylan Crews lined a run-scoring single.

Ole Miss tied the game in the bottom of the inning on Harris’ sacrifice fly, and the Rebels took a 2-1 lead in the second on an RBI single by designated hitter Will Furniss.

The Tigers struck for two runs in the third on back-to-back RBI singles by shortstop Jordan Thompson and Jones.

LSU extended the lead to 4-2 in the fifth when designated hitter Cade Beloso launched a solo homer, his seventh home run of the year and second of the series.

Ole Miss narrowed the gap to 4-3 on first baseman Anthony Calarco’s RBI double in the sixth, and the Rebels tied the game on right fielder Kemp Alderman’s seventh-inning solo homer, his 17th dinger of the season.

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.

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 third baseman Tommy White left the game in the second inning due to an injury, according to the SEC Network+ broadcast.

There did not appear to be a particular incident that could have indicated why White was taken out of the game. Johnson said he did not have an update on White after the game.

Outfielder Josh Pearson replaced White in the lineup and right fielder Jobert shifted to third base. White was shown during the broadcast at the front steps of the dugout in a black sweatshirt after he exited the game.

LSU returns to action at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when they play host to Nicholls in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The game will be broadcast on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (98.1-FM), and it will be streamed on SEC Network +.

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Todd Horne

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