LSU blanks Purdue 10-0 in series opener

No. 7 LSU earned a complete victory against Purdue on Friday, shutting out the Boilermakers 10-0 at Alex Box Stadium. Aaron Nola tossed eight scoreless innings, and Alex Bregman drove in four to earn the win.

No. 7 LSU left little to critique in a 10-0 victory against Purdue on Friday night in Alex Box Stadium.

Aaron Nola worked eight scoreless innings, Alex Bregman drove in four and the Tigers (12-2) combined for 13 hits to outpace the Boilermakers (1-8). The win marked LSU's third consecutive win, and the Tigers have outscored their opponents 26-2 in those three victories.

"It's hard to play much better than we did tonight," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "I was really proud of our guys. I thought they played a great game all-around."

It was a classic night of Nola domination, as he pitched yet another shutout. The junior righty still has not given up a run this season — a streak of 27 innings — and his last earned run came 53 2/3 innings ago in last year's SEC Tournament.

Nola surrendered just two hits and struck out a career-high 12 on Friday. He only allowed three base runners, none of which advanced past first base. He has 36 total strikeouts in his four starts this season, 22 of which have come in his last two appearances.

Friday night's outing did mark his longest of the year — he threw 101 pitches — but Nola said he's really found his form one week from the start of conference play.

"I'm just getting into my groove," Nola said. "My pitches are feeling better and my stamina's increasing. The biggest thing for me is going deep into games, and that's what I did tonight and that's what I'll keep doing."

Nola didn't need the run support, but the LSU offense certainly supplied it. The Tigers got off to an early 4-0 lead, and have now outscored opponents 51-5 in the second through fourth innings this season.

Kade Scivicque got it all started with a one-out single in the second. He moved all the way to third with a balk and sacrifice bunt, and Andrew Stevenson brought him in with a single through the left side, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.

Alex Bregman tied a career high with four RBI
Bregman kept the momentum going in the next inning. After striking out looking in his first at-bat, Bregman drilled one deep over the left field wall for a three-run homer. He'd drive in one more in the seventh inning, tying his career-high with four RBI.

"The kid made a great pitch on him, and he realized that," Mainieri said of Bregman's strikeout. "Alex was very determined [after that]. Those next three at-bats were as good of swings as you'll see out of him all year. Hopefully he'll get heated up."

Scivicque would also score a run in the sixth and drove in another with a two-out single in the seventh. That marked his third knock of the contest, giving him his fourth three-hit game of the season. He's leading the team with a .447 batting average.

"We come in everyday prepared and ready to go," Scivicque said. "We don't take any at-bats, any plays, any pitches off. We have a really great squad."

Nola came out after the eighth inning with a 7-0 lead, but the LSU reserves added three more in the bottom of the frame. Jake Fraley brought in one with a double to left-center, and Danny Zardon laced one down the RF line to plate two more.

Joe Broussard and Parker Bugg combined to close out the ninth inning, cementing the Tigers' sixth shutout of the young season.

"This five games in a row deal, I know everyone was concerned about it," Mainieri said. "Honestly, it was a silver lining for us. With each passing day, our team's playing looser and more confident…It's hard to find fault with how we played tonight."

LSU returns to action Saturday night in Game 2 against Purdue. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m., and Kyle Bouman will take the mound. Mark Laird, who missed the game with a sore foot, is expected to return to the lineup, but Bregman may be questionable after coming down with a stomach illness late in Friday's game.


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