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April 19, 2013Aaron Nola tossed a three-hit shutout as LSU defeated Alabama 5-0 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa on Friday night.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU first inning - With one out, both Mark Laird and Alex Bregman singled. Raph Rhymes drove home Laird and Bregman with a triple. LSU 2, ALABAMA 0
LSU third inning - Rhymes doubled and Mason Katz walked. After Christian Ibarra hit into a double play, Chris Sciambra singled home Katz. LSU 3, ALABAMA 0
LSU seventh inning - Casey Yocom walked and went to third on a single by Sean McMullen. Yocom scored on Laird's sacrifice fly to leftfield. McMullen moved to second on a balk by Taylor Guilbeau and came around to score on singles by Bregman and Rhymes. LSU 5, ALABAMA 0
LSU WASTED SCORING CHANCES
Second inning - Ty Ross singled. After Yocom struck out, Ross advanced to second on a single by McMullen. Ross was picked off second base by catcher Brett Booth. After Laird walked, Bregman lined out to leftfield.
Eighth inning - Ibarra singled. After Sciambra struck out and Ross flied out to centerfield, Yocom walked. McMullen flied out to centerfield to end the threat.
LSU HITTING STAR
Rhymes had three of LSU's 11 hits and drove in three of the Tigers' five runs. Rhymes gave LSU a 2-0 lead with the first triple of his career in the first inning. Rhymes, who doubled in the third, brought in LSU's final run with a two-out single in the eighth. Rhymes had collected just three RBIs in the previous nine Southeastern Conference games. The three-hit game was Rhymes' first since March 8 against Washington. His last three-RBI game came on April 2 against Alcorn State.
LSU STARTING PITCHER
Nola threw the first shutout for a LSU pitcher in a SEC game since Kevin Gausman blanked Tennessee on May 13, 2011. Nola also registered his second straight complete game. Gausman was the last Tigers pitcher to accomplish that feat - last season against Vanderbilt and South Carolina. Alabama got a runner past first base on just two occasions. The Crimson Tide had runners on first and second with one out in the fifth when Andrew Miller hit into a double play. One inning later, Alabama had a runner at second with two out. Ben Moore fouled out to the first baseman Katz. Nola, who matched his victory total of a year ago with his seventh win, walked one and struck out ten. Nola has struck out ten batters in three of his last four starts. Nola retired the final 12 hitters after Chance Vincent's leadoff single in the sixth.
Sciambra made his first start in almost a month - March 24 against Auburn. Sciambra was the rightfielder, while Laird played centerfield. Sciambra, who was 4-for-10 since his last start, had one hit - a run-scoring single with two out in the third. . .JaCoby Jones was unable to play because of a stomach virus. Yocom made the second start of the season in Jones' spot at second base. He was 0-for-2 with two walks. Yocom handled four chances without an error. . .McMullen had two singles - his first two-hit game since he had three hits against Southern on April 10. McMullen was just 2-for-13 coming into Friday's game. . .Laird, who singled in the first, has hit safely in four games in a row. . .Katz failed to drive in a run for the fifth straight game. His RBI total stayed at 60. Katz has gone 3-for-18 in the last five games. . .LSU was 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position. . .Alabama starting pitcher Charley Sullivan was charged with four runs and seven hits in six-plus innings. . .With Nola's shutout, Tigers pitchers have thrown 24 consecutive scoreless innings. No team has scored against LSU since Arkansas in the fourth inning of the game last Sunday. . .LSU is 36-3, 14-2 in the SEC. Alabama is 23-17, 8-8 in the SEC. The Tigers trail Vanderbilt by one-half game in the overall SEC standings. The Commodores' game at Georgia was rained out. LSU has a five-game lead over Arkansas, which lost to Texas A&M, in the Western Division.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri
"Nola has been amazing. It's pretty hard to lose when your pitcher pitches a three-hit shutout. It makes up for a lot of the mistakes you make during the course of the game. Just watching the growth of the guy is amazing. He has always been a strike-throwing machine, but now he throws a little bit harder, his curve ball is a little tighter and his changeup is deceptive.
"Alabama has a good team and their pitcher (Sullivan) pitched a good game. I have all the respect in the world for (Alabama coach) Mitch (Gaspard). Our lineup is a challenge for other teams. When you sneak a guy like Rhymes in between Bregman and Katz, that is a challenge for any team. The case tonight was that Aaron Nola just pitched so great."
LSU will play Alabama at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa on Saturday at 7 p.m. Ryan Eades (7-1, 1.97 ERA) will be the Tigers' starting pitcher.