BATON ROUGE, La. – Mississippi State had few answers for a dominating pitching performance by the LSU pitching staff Friday night.
Junior right-handed pitcher Aaron Nola threw eight innings of two-hit baseball, while Joe Broussard threw the ninth inning to complete LSU’s 3-0 win over Mississippi State in the opening game of a Southeastern Conference three-game series played at Alex Box Stadium.
With the win, LSU improved to 22-8-1 overall and 4-5-1 in league play, while MSU fell to 20-11 and 6-4. The Tigers have now tied a school record with 10 shutouts this season. MSU dropped the opening game of a weekend conference series for the third time in four weekends.
LSU got Nola (6-1) all of the offense he would needed by scoring twice in the third inning. The Tigers also scored a single run in the fourth inning.
In the LSU third inning, Sean McMullen and Mark Laird touched MSU starter Trevor Fitts (2-2) for back-back triples to start that at-bat. A follow-up single by Alex Bregman pushed the LSU lead to 2-0.
In the fourth inning, a walk and single off MSU reliever Ben Bracewell preceded a sacrifice fly by McMullen which capped the scoring.
MSU broke up Nola’s no-hit bid with a leadoff single to start the sixth inning after a seven-pitch at-bat. Two fly outs followed and after Seth Heck reached as a hit batsman, a strike out snuffed this threat.
The only other hit for MSU was a leadoff single by Jake Vickerson in the eighth inning. A line drive double play snuffed that threat.
Perhaps the biggest storyline was another dominating performance out of the bullpen by Brandon Woodruff. The junior right-hander threw 4.1 innings of shutout relief, while allowing two hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Fitts worked two-plus innings, while Bracewell followed.
LSU finished with seven hits, including multi-hit games by McMullen, Bregman and Andrew Stevenson. Broussard faced the minimum in the ninth inning to garner his sixth save.
The series resumes with a 6:30 p.m. start Saturday. Junior left-hander Ross Mitchell (5-1, 1.55 ERA) is expected to draw the start for the Bulldogs. The game will be nationally televised by ESPNU.