BATON ROUGE -- LSU freshman right-hander Kevin Gausman allowed only three hits and one unearned run in six innings and struck out a career-high nine to spearhead the seventh-ranked Tigers (11-0) to a 7-2 win over Princeton (0-2) in a rain-delayed Game 2 Saturday night in Alex Box Stadium.
Game 3 will begin at noon CST Sunday. Live video, audio and stats of the game may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/HDbaseball. The contest can be also be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.
Gausman improved to 2-0 and now has a team-high 22 strikeouts in 17.2 innings pitched this season.
“I thought this was Kevin’s best outing of the season,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “He was dominant with great velocity, and the key ingredient was that he stayed ahead of the hitters. It was really a tremendous performance.”
Designated hitter Raph Rhymes led the Tigers at the plate, batting 2-for-3 with three runs, two doubles and a walk, while third baseman Tyler Hanover delivered two RBI.
“I wouldn’t say we had an awe-inspiring effort offensively,” Mainieri said, “but the conditions were not very favorable to hitting. We came through with some clutch hits at the right time.”
The Tigers struck first with a run in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Following a double by Rhymes, Hanover drove the sophomore in on an RBI grounder to second.
LSU pushed its lead to 4-0 in the third. Both center fielder Mikie Mahtook and shortstop Austin Nola knocked in runs on back-to-back RBI doubles.
Princeton put a run on the board in the fourth when pitcher Mike Ford, batting out of the clean-up spot, notched an RBI single to score right fielder John Mishu.
However, the Tigers added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Catcher Ty Ross capitalized on a two-base throwing error to score from second after a single by second baseman JaCoby Jones. Left fielder Trey Watkins successfully executed the squeeze play to plate Jones from third in the next at-bat, and Hanover drove in a run on a single two batters later.
Princeton scored one run in the top of the eighth to cut the deficit to 7-2 and threatened more with the bases loaded and two outs, but LSU right-hander Kevin Berry came up with a clutch strikeout to end the inning.
Berry finished off the opposing Tigers with a scoreless ninth. Ford (0-1) was charged with the loss after surrendering seven earned runs on seven hits and three walks in four innings.