No. 6 LSU (31-10-1) recorded its 13th of the season Tuesday, holding Tulane (15-23) to just six hits in a 6-0 victory. That's the ninth non-conference opponent LSU has shut out this season and extends a school record the Tigers set two weeks ago against Lamar.
But that wasn't the part that impressed Paul Mainieri most. The LSU offense left its mark, totaling 14 hits, 12 of which came against the Green Wave's top starter.
"That was one of our best offensive nights of the year," Mainieri said. "We had a lot of quality at-bats, and we battled them really hard. I'm just really proud of the way the guys came to play tonight."
Kyle Bouman kicked it off for the Tigers, tossing 4 2/3 scoreless frames, an out shy of qualifying for the win. That was a welcome positive start for Bouman after he surrendered four runs in only one inning in his last outing.
Bouman worked a perfect first inning to start the game, then had to work out of some trouble in the second. He walked the leadoff man then surrendered a single to put runners on the corners with one out. He induced a pop fly in foul territory in the next at-bat though then knocked down a hard liner back to the mound to end the inning.
"I made a few mistakes here and there, but overall it was pretty inspiring to get back out there and go deeper into the game," Bouman said.
Bouman worked two more scoreless innings before having to exit in the fifth with the bases loaded. He surrendered a one-out double and a two-out single before hitting a batter to put three on with two outs.
Zac Person entered and got a pop fly to right field to end the inning.
Meanwhile, freshman Jake Fraley had already provided all the offense LSU would need, driving in the Tigers' first three runs of the game.
Sean McMullen and Alex Bregman each recorded hits to start the second inning, and Fraley drove in one with a single to left field. He matched his career-high in RBI the next inning with a two-run single to right field, scoring Andrew Stevenson and Mark Laird, who each singled to open the inning.
"They pitched around Bregman to get to me, so in my mind I pissed myself off to get up there," Fraley said. "I was looking for a fastball, and he gave it to me. I made the most of it."
LSU added one more with a RBI-groundout in the fourth to give the LSU bullpen plenty of cushion.
Person stayed in after closing out the fifth and recorded two quick outs to start the sixth. He then ran into a bit of trouble after walking a batter and surrendering a two-out single. That brought in Brady Domangue and he ended the threat with an inning-ending strikeout.
Parker Bugg followed suit in the seventh with a perfect inning, and Kurt McCune retired both batters he faced in the eighth. Nate Fury entered and put two on with a hit batter and walk. But he battled back and ended the inning with a strikeout.
Tulane managed to load the bases with one out in the ninth against Joe Broussard with an error and two singles. But Broussard struck out one then induced a game-ending grounder to seal the victory.
"Our bullpen of course did a tremendous job," Mainieri said. "Overall we pitched well, played good defense, but the highlight of the night was that it was one of our best offensive nights of the year."
The rest of LSU's run production came in a two-run sixth. Christian Ibarra got it started with a one-out single, and Stevenson followed that with one of his own. Laird drove in the first run with a double to left-center field and McMullen's sacrifice fly to left made it 6-0.
LSU was able to avenge a loss it suffered earlier in the season to Tulane, resulting in a split series between the two programs. The Tigers will host Tennessee this weekend for a three-game conference series.
LSU enters the weekend 1.5 games behind Alabama for the SEC lead.