There will come a point this season when LSU senior Jared Poche will allow a run, let alone more than a smattering of hits.
For now, though, the veteran southpaw is content with being as stingy as any pitcher in the country through three weekends.
Poche wasn’t as dominant as his first two starts but was plenty nasty enough against the toughest lineup he has faced as the No. 4-ranked Tigers cruised past Baylor 4-0 at Minute Maid Park on the second day of the Shriners Hospitals College Classic.
The Bears (10-1) absorbed their first loss of the season because, like Army and Maryland before them, they couldn’t come up with any way to solve Poche.
Baylor starter Montana Parsons was equal to the challenge for 4-plus innings before LSU (10-2) finally generated some clutch hitting to seize the lead.
Jake Slaughter (3-for-4), Greg Deichmann (2-for-4, 5th home run) and Antoine Duplantis (2-for-3) anchored an 11-hit Tigers’ performance, with seven hitters producing at least one hit.
Bears’ leadoff man Steven McLean laced a double down the right-field line to open the top of the 1st inning, just the third hit Poche had allowed in the season to that point.
Unfazed, the Tigers’ left-hander struck out the next two batters and McLean was nailed by LSU catcher Nick Coomes trying to move to third base on a ball in the dirt.
Poche cruised through 6 more almost flawless innings, giving up another leadoff hit to McLean in the 4th inning and pinch-hitter Tucker Johnson’s infield hit to start the 7th. After those three hits to open a frame, Baylor was 0-for-8 vs. Poche and a Bears’ runner never got as far as third base the entire game.
It took a while for LSU to be a whole lot more dynamic than Baylor, and when the seal was broken it was a cast of familiar characters leading the way.
After the Tigers meandered through the first 4 innings with minor threats but no damage done, Slaughter began the 5th inning with the second of his three singles. Making his second start in a row at DH, Jordan Romero punched a second consecutive hit to left field to add fuel to the fire.
Parsons retired Coomes on a liner to center field and struck out Beau Jordan for the second time to come oh-so-close to escaping the mess.
But Cole Freeman worked the count to 2-and-2 and poked a single over the right side of the infield to score Slaughter and end the shutout. Duplantis rifled a second hit in a row to right field to give Romero just enough time to lumber home for a 2-0 cushion.
The Tigers needed a lot less execution to extend the lead in the 6th inning, as Deichmann led off and uncorked a leadoff blast into the right-center field seats.
LSU produced its final run when Slaughter slapped a one-out single and two tough ground balls resulted in a fielder’s choice – not a double play with Romero running – and a two-out Baylor throwing error that sent the Tigers’ DH rumbling home for a 4-0 lead.
With the four-run cushion, Poche notched one more shutout frame before yielding to Caleb Gilbert, who logged two clean shutout innings to drop his ERA to 0.90.
The Tigers wrap up their trip to Houston on Sunday when they tangle with Texas Tech at 10 a.m. The Red Raiders topped Ole Miss 5-1 on Saturday after falling to Texas A&M 9-0 on the first day of the event.
Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic
LSU vs. TCU | 7 p.m. Friday
Friday | TCU 9, LSU 6
Saturday | LSU 4, Baylor 0
Sunday | LSU vs. Texas Tech, 10 a.m.
WHERE: Minute Maid Park | Houston
RECORDS: LSU 9-2, Texas Tech 10-2
RADIO: 98.1-FM (Baton Rouge)
TV/LIVESTREAM: Fox Sports Southwest
ON THE WEB: TigerBlitz.com
TWITTER: @RandyRosetta, @BillyEmbody, @LSUBaseball
LAST MEETING/SERIES: First meeting with Texas Tech.
LAST TIME OUT: LSU blanked Baylor 4-0 on Saturday.
LSU – No. 2 Collegiate Baseball, No. 2 Perfect Game, No. 3 USA Today (coaches), No. 3 NCBWA (writers), No. 4 Baseball America, No. 4 D1Baseball.com
Texas Tech – No. 10 D1Baseball.com, No. 11 NCBWA, No. 12 Collegiate Baseball, No. 19 Perfect Game, No. 21 Baseball America, No. 24 Perfect Game
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
LSU, Fr. Eric Walker (1-0, 4.00 ERA, 9 IP, 12 SO/3 BB, .257 OBA) vs. Texas Tech, So. RH Ryan Shetter (1-0, 2.13 ERA, 12.2 IP, 16 SO/2 BB)
San Diego at LSU | 6:30 p.m. Tuesday