Aaron Nola and Chris Cotton combined on a six-hit shutout as LSU defeated Missouri 2-0 at Taylor Stadium in Columbia on Friday night.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU fourth inning - Mason Katz hit a two-out home run over the leftfield fence. LSU 1, MISSOURI 0
LSU eighth inning - With one out, Andrew Stevenson was hit by a pitch. After Mark Laird struck out, Alex Bregman singled. Stevenson scored when second baseman Kendall Keaton misplayed Raph Rhymes' ground ball. LSU 2, MISSOURI 0
LSU WASTED SCORING CHANCES
Sixth inning - With two out, Bregman singled and stole second. He was stranded in scoring position as Rhymes struck out.
LSU HITTING STAR
Katz continued his long-ball assault as he put LSU ahead 1-0 with his 11th home run of the season with two out in the fourth inning. Katz now has 28 career home runs. He has 42 runs batted in to lead the nation. Katz, who singled in the second inning, extended his hitting streak to six games. Katz is 13-24 during the streak.
LSU STARTING PITCHER
Nola delivered his best performance of the season as he held Missouri scoreless over 7.2 innings. The only more dominant outing for Nola in his career came last season when he blanked Tulane over eight innings. Nola allowed just five hits - three in the first two innings. He walked one and struck out ten in picking up his fourth victory of the season. The ten strikeouts were Nola's most against a Southeastern Conference team. Nola pitched out of trouble in the fourth when Missouri had a runner at third with one out. Nola struck out Michael McGraw and got Josh Lester to ground out to Bregman at shortstop. In the eighth, Missouri put two runners on base with one out. Nola struck out Dillon Everett before being replaced.
Cotton was summoned to face the lefthanded-hitting Dane Opal with the tying runs on base and two out in the eighth. Opal hit into a force play at second base to end the inning. In the ninth, Cotton yielded a one-out single by Kendall Keeton. Cotton recorded his seventh save of the year by striking out McGraw and getting pinch-hitter Jake Ivory to ground out to Bregman.
Stevenson batted in the leadoff spot and played centerfield, while Chris Chinea was the designated hitter against Missouri lefty Rob Zastryzny. Stevenson reached base twice - on a walk and a hit by pitch. He scored LSU's second run. In his other at-bats, Stevenson grounded out and struck out. Chinea was hitless in three at-bats. . .Bregman, who had a pair of singles, extended his hitting streak to 14 games. He is 33-61 during the past 14 games. . .Rhymes saw his hitting streak end at seven games as he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. . .Bregman and Katz had four of LSU's six hits. Laird and Christian Ibarra had LSU's other two hits. . .JaCoby Jones' slump continued as he went 0-for-4. He is now 1-for-25 in the past six games. . .LSU only put three runners in scoring position. LSU batters were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. . .Zastryzny allowed two runs and five hits in 7.2 innings. . .Dylan Kelly and Case Munson each had two hits for Missouri. . .The shutout was the first for LSU against a SEC team in two years. LSU defeated Tennessee 9-0 in May of 2011. It had been four seasons since LSU blanked a SEC opponent on the road. LSU beat Arkansas 5-0 in May of 2009 at Fayetteville. . .LSU is 24-2 overall, 6-1 in the SEC. The only other LSU teams to win 24 of their first 26 games were the 1997 and the 1986 squads. . .LSU is tied with Vanderbilt for first place in the overall SEC standings. The Commodores defeated Tennessee 4-3 in 12 innings on Friday. . .Missouri is 9-13 overall, 2-5 in the SEC.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri
"Aaron was really sharp tonight. He pounded the zone and mixed his pitches well to keep them off-balance. The conditions weren't great for hitting and we managed just enough offense to get the win. Missouri's starter was tough and didn't allow us to sustain a big inning. But, I'm happy our players earned a hard-fought victory."
LSU will play Missouri at Taylor Stadium in Columbia on Saturday at 1 p.m. Ryan Eades (5-0, 1.63 ERA) will be LSU's starting pitcher.