Tommy White’s grand slam propels LSU to its first SEC sweep, keeps postseason hopes alive

Tommy White hit two homers, including a grand slam, to propel LSU to its first SEC sweep of the season against Ole Miss. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

This was LSU’s biggest game in the biggest series of the season. It was essentially an early postseason game for the Tigers. Anything short of a sweep meant their season was likely over.

Their biggest star, Tommy White, delivered the Tigers’ biggest hit of the season when they needed it most. His grand slam in the fourth inning blew the game open and helped LSU to a 9-3 win over Ole Miss and their first SEC sweep this year.

White had his best series of the season against Ole Miss. He had three hits in each of the first two games, including his first career triple. He had eight hits, three homers, seven RBI and 21 total bases over the three games against the Rebels.  

The win doesn’t guarantee LSU’s spot in a regional, but their chances are much better than they were a week ago. The Tigers overall record sits at 36-20 and most importantly they hit the 13-win mark in conference play with a 13-17 SEC record. Ole Miss fell to 27-28 and 11-19 in SEC play.

“The whole theme of this weekend was focus,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “Playing in the present moment is a staple of what we do, and that’s what it needed to be. We needed to play mature baseball, and we did that.

LSU grabbed the lead in the first inning thanks to a two RBI double from Hayden Travinski that scored Jared Jones and Michael Braswell III. The Tigers scored first in every game against Ole Miss and never trailed in the series.

Nate Ackenhausen came in for Sam Dutton in the second inning as LSU used a slew of pitchers like it had all season in game threes. But this time, the rotation of pitchers worked for the Tigers.

After going 1-8 in game threes this season, LSU pitching staff allowed just seven hits and three runs while using seven pitchers.  The Tigers allowed just six runs in the entire series against the Rebels, their least in an SEC series this season.

LSU really blew the game open in the fourth inning. Steven Milam started the inning with a single before Mac Bingham and Ashton Larson drew walks to load up the bases. RBI singles from Alex Milazzo and Braswell brought the score to 4-0 before White’s grand slam doubled the lead.

Ole Miss chipped away at the lead with a run in the sixth inning. Ethan Groff doubled to start the inning before being brought to third on a groundout. A sac fly brought him home to make it an 8-1 game.

White responded in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot homer to reestablish the eight-run lead. It was his fifth RBI of the game.

“We’re playing as well as anyone in the country right now,” Johnson said. “We were not in a good place five weeks ago at the midpoint of our league schedule, but I don’t think there’s five teams in the country that could accomplish what we’ve just done on the back half of our schedule.”

The Rebels cut into the lead again in the seventh inning. Justin Loer walked the leadoff batter before surrendering a double to Jackson Ross to put two runners in scoring position. Loer recorded a strikeout, but a groundout scored a runner.

Will Furniss hit an RBI single to score another run and make it a 9-3 game. Thatcher Hurd came in for Loer afterwards and recorded a strikeout to end the inning. It was Hurd’s first strikeout in against an SEC opponent since he recorded one out of the bullpen against Arkansas on March 29.

He recorded another strikeout in the eighth inning before allowing a single. He induced a double play afterwards to bring the Tigers three outs away from the sweep.

Hurd recorded one out and surrendered a walk before being pulled for freshman Kade Anderson. He hit one batter with a pitch before being pulled fro Gavin Guidry. Guidry forced a pop out and recorded a strikeout to end the game.

Up next, LSU baseball will head to Hoover for the SEC Tournament.  

“I’m really excited to keep playing baseball with this team,” Johnson said. “We’re playing a brand of baseball right now that is sustainable at the highest level.”

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Will Nickel

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