LSU had another big night at the plate with nine hits, three for extra bases. LSU went 6-for-16 with runners on-base and 4-for-7 when they were in scoring position. All but two players in the starting lineup got a hit. Chris Chinea and Conner Hale did the most damage, driving in a combined five runs.
LSU got a strong night from Alex Lange, his best outing since missing that start with arm fatigue last month. Lange struck out eight, the most by him in a game since March 28. Lange only gave up two hits, one of which was a solo home run. That was the only time a runner reached scoring position against him.
Lange remains undefeated this season, recording his ninth win in 12 starts.
“What a performance by Lange tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “That was obviously the highlight. Everybody had been predicting the demise of the kid because he wasn’t striking out 10 guys a game…Tonight, he just pitched phenomenal baseball.”Kade Scivicque got it started with LSU’s first hit of the game, and Chinea brought him in two at-bats later with a double to the right field corner.
Chris Sciambra tripled after that to make it 2-0.
LSU doubled its lead two innings later. Jake Fraley got hit by a pitch before Chinea unloaded for a two-run home run into the left field bleachers. That hit clocked 107 mph off the bat, his eight homer in the last 24 games.
“I’m just having fun out here,” Chinea said. “He came with another two-seam fastball, but he left it up a little. I put a great swing on it and it happened to go out of the park.”
LSU tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth by Fraley before blowing it open with three more in the next inning.
Sciambra walked to open the frame. Andrew Stevenson and Mark Laird each singled, Laird’s bringing in Sciambra. Conner Hale brought home two more with a two-out single up the middle to make it 8-1.
That was all the run support Lange needed. Lange didn’t surrender his first hit until the fourth inning. He did walk a pair of batters, but neither advanced into scoring position.
The solo home run in the seventh inning was the only a blemish on an otherwise dominant night.
“I was just getting ahead of guys,” Lange said. “I was able to put them away with the curveball, which I was locating a little better today.”
Hunter Newman gave up one run in the ninth on three hits before sealing the victory.
LSU goes for the sweep Sunday at 2 p.m. The game will be shown on the SEC Network. LSU has a one-game lead on both Texas A&M and Vanderbilt for the overall SEC lead.
“It’s irrelevant that we won the series, and it’s irrelevant that we’re playing for a sweep,” Mainieri said. “Our magic number is 3 [to win the SEC]. Any game that we can win, reduces our magic number…That’s what we’re thinking about.”