HOOVER, Ala. -- No. 2 seed Ole Miss defeated No. 8 seed LSU 9-1 to win the 2018 SEC baseball tournament. This is the Rebels' third tournament title and first since 2006.
The Rebels won in front of 14,126 fans, the second-largest crowd to attend an SEC baseball tournament championship game.
"I'm really proud of our guys," said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco. "I thought we played terrifically today. But really all week long, except for maybe three innings on Wednesday. There are so many great teams in this tournament, and I thought our guys did really well."
LSU struck first in the opening inning with an RBI double by Daniel Cabrera, but it would be the Tigers' only run of the game. Ole Miss junior Chase Cockrell hit an RBI single to tie it up in the second.
The Rebels pulled ahead 2-1 in the next inning when Nick Fortes scored on a wild pitch. Fortes tacked on another run for the Rebels in the fourth with an RBI single. With a 4-for-4 performance at the plate, Fortes became only the third player to have at least four hits in an SEC tournament championship game.
"I was just going up there with the same approach in every at-bat and just trying to do my job in the lineup which is to drive guys in and keep it moving," said Fortes, who was named the 2018 tournament MVP.
The Tigers loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth, but Ole Miss reliever Ryan Rolison closed the inning with two strikeouts to shut down the threat. Rolison earned the win to improve to 9-4 on the season.
"I had a conversation with coach and I told him that I was ready to go," said Rolison. "It's easy to go out there and fill up the zone when you've got 15 hits and nine runs on the board."
Ole Miss continued to roll in the seventh when senior Will Golsan delivered a two-strike, two-RBI single. Senior Tim Rowe launched a two-run shot to center field to put the Rebels in front 7-1.
Michael Fitzsimmons provided the exclamation point for the Rebels' victory with a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the ninth.
2018 SEC All-Tournament Team
P: John Doxakis, Texas A&M
P: Todd Peterson, LSU
C: Nick Fortes, Ole Miss
DH: Edouard Julien, Auburn
1B: Chris Andritsos, Texas A&M
2B: Michael Helman, Texas A&M
3B: Casey Martin, Arkansas
SS: LT Tolbert, South Carolina
OF: Antoine Duplantis, LSU
OF: Will Golsan, Ole Miss
OF: Thomas Dillard, Ole Miss*
OF: Jay Estes, Auburn*
Most Valuable Player: Nick Fortes, Ole Miss