LSU blanks Southern, 8-0

No. 6 LSU started six freshmen Wednesday and came away with an 8-0 victory against Southern. That marked the Tigers' seventh straight win as they head into a three-game series with No. 5 Vanderbilt this weekend.

No. 6 LSU earned its seventh straight victory Wednesday in advance of its three-game series with No. 5 Vanderbilt this weekend.

The Tigers (16-2) dropped Southern 8-0, marking the Tigers' seventh shutout of the season. LSU started six freshmen against the Jaguars (2-9), including Jared Poche, who tossed two scoreless innings to polish up for his first SEC start on Sunday.

The LSU offense racked up 10 hits off Southern, including five for extra bases. The Tigers had eight different players record a hit and five drove in runs. Meanwhile the LSU bullpen combined to throw seven scoreless innings, surrendering five hits with seven strikeouts.

"It was a game that wasn't terribly exciting, but it was a businessman-like effort by our guys," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "But what was really exciting was getting the young guys a chance to play a full game."

The Tigers got off to a hot start, scoring two in the first inning. Alex Bregman kicked it off with a RBI-double — extending his hitting streak to 10 games — and Kramer Robertson's sacrifice squeeze put LSU on top 2-0.

LSU scored a run in each of the second and fourth innings. Jake Fraley earned his first of two RBI with a double in the second and Chris Sciambra drove home a run in the fourth.

The Tigers really opened it up with a three-run fifth inning. Robertson reached on an error to start the frame, and Cade Stone's double brought him home. Danny Zardon walked with two outs to prolong the inning, and Fraley earned his second RBI with a single to right-center field.

Fraley's taken advantage of the limited playing time he's received this season. He's hitting .600 with 10 at-bats this season, and has hit safetly in all five games in which he's recorded an at-bat.

"I'm seeing the ball really well," Fraley said. "I was told coming in here by the veteran guys that whenever I get a chance to take advantage of the opportunities and I just go out there and try to do that every time."

LSU added one more run on a wild pitch in the seventh, which was more than enough run support.

Poche shut down the Jaguars in his two innings of work. Southern did provide a threat in both frames though, getting a runner to third each time. But Poche kept them off the board to earn his fourth win of the season.

His next appearance will come Sunday in Nashville, his first outing against SEC competition.

"I just went out there and tried to throw as many strikes as I can," Poche said. "I think I did so pretty well…This start knocked some rust off and hopefully I'll go out against Vanderbilt and win the game."

The bullpen picked up for Poche the rest of the way. Alden Cartwright struck out a career-high four in his two innings. Henri Faucheaux surrendered just one hit in two innings, and Hunter Devall worked around three hits to also throw up a pair of zeroes on the scoreboard.

Nate Fury closed it all with a perfect ninth to seal the win.

"Our bullpen did a tremendous job again," Mainieri said. "Obviously when you pitch a shutout, it's hard to lose a ball game."

Next up for the Tigers is a top-five showdown at Vanderbilt. It will be a battle of the aces on Friday as two of the nation's best pitchers are set to square off in Aaron Nola and Tyler Beede. First pitch for the series opener is set for 6:30 p.m.


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