LSU shuts out Tulane to set up big weekend

LSU limited Tulane to one hit Tuesday in a 6-0 victory, setting the stage for a weekend showdown between the top two teams in the country.

Now No. 1 LSU can start looking ahead to No. 2 Texas A&M.

The top-ranked Tigers cruised past Tulane on Tuesday in a 6-0 victory at Alex Box Stadium. LSU blew open a two-run lead with a four-run seventh inning while nine different pitchers limited the Green Wave to only one hit in the Tigers’ third shutout of the season.

LSU made sure not to overlook Tulane, and now the stage is set for a showdown between the nation’s top two teams.

“I’m going to be honest. I was a little worried they were looking beyond tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Last night I slept a little uneasy, but once I saw the way they went through their pregame routine, I was confident they were focused.”

LSU seemed poised for a hot start after the first inning. Alex Bregman and Conner Hale had back-to-back doubles to provide the Tigers with an early lead. The LSU bats went somewhat cold after that. The Tigers had only one hit in the next three innings.

Jared Foster broke that streak with a bloop single to center in the fifth. He took two bases on an errant pickoff attempt, and another error by the Tulane second baseman brought him home.

LSU really took command with a big seventh inning. The Tigers got four straight hits to get it started, including a leadoff home run by Chris Chinea that made it 3-0. Jake Fraley and Jared Foster each singled, and Fraley scored on another base hit by Chris Sciambra.

After an intentional walk to Bregman, Hale brought in a pair with a single to right and made it 6-0.

“We didn’t hit a lot, but we hit enough,” Mainieri said. “Especially when you only give up one hit.”

LSU wanted to get as many pitchers in the game as possible Tuesday after only using two relievers on the weekend. That brought “Johnny Wholestaff” to the mound as nine different pitchers appeared in the game.

Each one of them had success against the Tulane offense. The only Green Wave hit came in the second inning off starter Austin Bain. Tulane had four base runners the rest of the way but failed to advance each one into scoring position.

“Everybody’s giving Bain a hard time for giving up that hit,” Mainieri said. “The rest of the team pitched a no-hitter. The pitching staff played out exactly how we thought it would, maybe even better.”

That three-game series with Texas A&M starts Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Jared Poché will take the start to prevent Alex Lange — who’s still bouncing back from arm fatigue — from pitching on another day of short rest. Lange will pitch Friday with Bain taking the mound Saturday.

“Now we can finally turn our attention to Texas A&M,” Mainieri said.

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