LSU blanks Yale for second straight game

Saturday didn't feature the offensive explosion that Friday did, but No. 3 LSU pulled off another shutout to earn a 3-0, series-clinching victory against Yale.

No. 3 LSU turned in its second consecutive shutout Saturday for a 3-0, series-clinching victory against Yale (0-2) at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (9-1) didn't have quite the offensive outburst as Friday night's 19-run effort, but the production LSU did get was enough behind another stellar outing by the Tiger pitching staff. Kyle Bouman tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out a season-high for his third victory of the year.

LSU limited Yale to just four total hits Saturday, and the Bulldogs didn't advance a runner into scoring position until there were two outs in the ninth inning.

"I knew it was going to be a much better game today," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "Yale played very inspired… but our pitching's just been outstanding through two days to say the least."

Bouman's making a strong case for a permanent spot in the weekend rotation. His outing Saturday moved his ERA down to just 1.00 in 18 innings of work this season. He retired 21 of the 24 batters he faced and didn't allow a runner to advance past first base.

"I was just trying to keep us in the game," Bouman said. "I haven't been used to close games so far, but I was just making my pitches to keep us in the game."

He did have some help from his defense though. Mark Laird showed his tremendous range on a couple liners to right field, and Alex Bregman helped out with a nice snag on a line drive in the third inning.

Kade Scivcique also threw out a base stealer, and the Tigers turned a crucial 5-4-3 double play after Yale's leadoff single in the ninth.

"We have one of the best outfields in the country," Bouman said, "and I have faith that if their offense puts the ball in play, we'll find a way to catch it."

Offensively, the Tigers scratched together a run in each of the fourth seventh and eighth innings.

LSU did threaten in the third with a runner on second and Laird at the plate with two outs. He drilled one to left field, and Moore was sent home by third base coach Will Davis. The throw beat Moore easily though, eliminating the threat.

The Tigers bounced back in the next frame to jump ahead 1-0. Bregman got it started with a leadoff single and stole second. Conner Hale brought him home for his sixth RBI of the season.

Neither Bregman nor Hale — the occupants of the third and fourth spots in the lineup — have struck out this season, and the duo has combined to drive in 12 runs.

"That's pretty good in 10 ballgames," Mainieri said. "If they put the ball in play, good things happen."

LSU would add another run in the seventh courtesy of a sacrifice fly by Moore. Chris Chinea plated the third run on a ground ball in the eighth, scoring Laird who reached with a leadoff double.

Laird had three hits Saturday and his on-base percentage is now back over .500.

"You can never get too many at-bats before you start feeling comfortable," Laird said. "Now that we're a couple weekends into the season, I feel comfortable seeing good pitches, and I've been settling in."

The bullpen picked up for Bouman and maintained the shutout through the final two frames. Parker Bugg worked the eighth, striking out a pair to move his season total to nine in four innings of work. Joe Broussard allowed a pair of hits in the ninth, but struck out the final batter to seal the win and earn his first career save.

The Tigers will complete the weekend series Sunday at noon. Cody Glenn will make his first weekend start of the season as LSU goes for the sweep.

"We'll take it and move on and get ready for tomorrow," Mainieri said.


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