Last Modified: Thursday, May 16, 2013 11:37 PM
BATON ROUGE — LSU will officially name the playing surface at Alex Box Stadium “Skip Bertman Field” tonight.
Thursday night against Ole Miss it almost looked like Bertman was still ruling the glory days from the dugout.
Maybe wearing a gorilla costume.
After running themselves out of a bigger inning while still getting a pair of runs in the first, the Tigers added four solo home runs to coast past Ole Miss 7-1 in the opener of the final Southeastern Conference series of the year.
Bertman would also have recognized another strong outing from Cody Glenn, who held the Rebels to a single run in his seven innings.
“Everybody wants to talk about the home runs,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “He (Glenn) was the key to the game. He went out and outpitched a guy (Ole Miss starter Mike Mayers) who’s been a thorn in our side.”
LSU (47-7, 22-6) will go for the series win at 7 p.m. today with the Tigers’ Kurt McCune (3-1, 3.38 ERA) pitching against former Barbe High right-hander Sam Smith (3-0, 3.15).
Another Buc-turned-Rebel, left fielder Tanner Mathis, went 4-for-4 and scored the lone run for Ole Miss (35-19, 14-14) after getting the first of three consecutive two-out singles in the seventh.
LSU needed two doubles among its four hits to get pair in the first after Alex Bregman was easily thrown out at the plate for the second out. But the Tigers were much more efficient thereafter, getting solo home runs from Mason Katz, Christian Ibarra, Sean McMullen and — the highlight of the night — a lumbering inside-the-park job from Raph Rhymes.
“I felt like I was running every step with him,” Mainieri said.
Rhymes, never confused with the speediest of the Tigers, circled the bases after Ole Miss center fielder Auston Bousfield made a diving attempt but let a sinking liner get past him all the way to the fence.
There was a chance for a play at the plate on a high throw, but it was high as Rhymes was flipped over by Ole Miss catcher Stuart Turner and crawled to the plate.
“It looked like he had an ice truck on his back when he rounded third,” Katz said.
“I’m never doing that again,” Rhymes laughed while estimating it was his first complete circle of the bases since T-ball. “I ran out of gas. I’ll either hit it out or stop at third. That was way too much work.
“I jumped, he (Turner) jumped. I think I landed somewhere near the plate.”
Katz, on the other hand, hit his 14th of the season in the fourth, but he’d been stuck on 13 since March 31 and looked comically relieved trotting the bases.
“I was just saying, ‘Please, just please go out,’” said Katz, who is playing second base this series while JaCoby Jones rests a sore wrist. “It felt good. I needed that.”
Ibarra and McMullen both hit no-doubters, Ibarra a shot into the left-field bleachers and McMullen a towering bomb to right.
Katz and Rhymes, both seniors, each went 3-for-4.
“He hit the ball hard four times,” Mainieri said of Katz. “When he gets going like that, he can put a team on his back.”