10-run first inning fuels LSU in rout

The LSU offense came out firing, notching a 10-run first inning to fuel them past Yale, 19-0, on Friday at Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers erupted for three home runs, and Aaron Nola kept up his scoreless inning streak to start the season.

No. 3 LSU created its own version of a Bugs Bunny cartoon Friday night, scoring 10 runs in the first inning and cruising to a 19-0 victory against Yale (0-1).

The Tigers (8-1) notched their highest run total since February 2012, when they scored 19 against McNeese State. LSU had 12 different players get hits, and five drove in multiple runs, including Kade Scivicque and Danny Zardon, who each totaled four RBI.

"We did something we haven't done all year, and that's get off to a great start," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "I told them how important it is in this dead-bat era to get a lead…so I wanted them to focus, and we were a lot more selective at the plate and that made the difference."

That 10-run first inning was the most runs a LSU team has scored in one frame since May 2011 against Mississippi State, and the first time at home in almost five years.

It all started with a couple of walks and a one-out RBI single by Conner Hale. That left three runners aboard for Scivicque, who belted one that hit high up on the left field foul pole, marking his first homer as a LSU Tiger.

"If that wasn't the hardest one I've ever hit, it's right up there with it," Scivicque said. "I thought for a second it was going to go foul, but once it hit the pole I was pretty relieved."

The hits just kept coming from there. Christian Ibarra, Chris Chinea and Andrew Stevenson singled in consecutive at-bats to load the bases for Kramer Robertson, who walked to bring in another run. Sean McMullen added one more with a sacrifice fly to right field, and Mark Laird plated one with a single up the middle.

Alex Bregman tacked on a pair with a double to left-center field, chasing Yale starter David Hickey from the game after two-thirds of an inning.

Scivicque would cap it all off with a RBI-single, giving him four in the inning, to make it 10-0 after one frame.

"We came in locked in," Scivicque said. "We've been focusing the last couple days on hitting hard line drives and getting it through the infield. The whole team was locked in, and [my home run] helped to get that big inning."

That cushion was more than enough for Nola, who tossed six more shutout innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts. Nola has still not allowed a run this season — 19 total innings — and hasn't surrendered an earned run since last year's SEC Tournament, a streak of 45 innings.

Aaron Nola tossed six more scoreless innings Friday
Nola did surrender five hits, but Yale only managed to get one runner into scoring position, which Nola stranded with his 10th and final strikeout.

"It definitely takes a lot of pressure off myself," Nola said of pitching with that large lead. "I've never seen anything like that from our team."

By the time Nola left after the sixth inning, LSU had a 14-0 lead. The Tigers plated one in the third with a single by Hale, and three more in the fifth, two of which came on a home run by Ibarra.

LSU would throw up a four-spot in the sixth inning. Bregman, Hale and Cade Stone all reached base without a hit, loading the bases for Danny Zardon, who belted his first career home run for a grand slam.

"I had a good feeling [it was gone]," Zardon said of his homer. "It just feels great, especially as a freshman, hitting a grand slam as your first home run. It's a great experience."

The Tigers added one final run in the eighth on a RBI-triple by Jake Fraley.

"We got a lot of guys in and they got a lot of at-bats," Mainieri said. "It was a good night for us. The first inning set the tone, and when you have a guy like Nola pitching, it's easy to relax and just go out and have some fun."

Meanwhile, the bullpen picked up where Nola left off, facing just one batter more than the minimum through the final three innings. Henri Faucheaux allowed a leadoff single in the seventh, but forced the final batter into a double play to end the inning.

Brady Domangue came in to pitch the final two frames, only surrendering a two-out single in the eighth. It was a positive appearance for him after he struggled in his first two outings, and Mainieri said it's possible he might get a midweek start Wednesday against Sacred Heart.

"I thought he threw the ball really well today," Mainieri said. "His velocity was better than it's been. He was down in the zone. I would have liked to see a few more big curveballs out of him, but I thought it was a big step in the right direction for him."

LSU returns to action Saturday afternoon in Game 2 versus Yale. Kyle Bouman will get the start, and first pitch is set for 2 p.m.


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