Aaron Nola and two relievers combined on a five-hit shutout as LSU defeated Georgia 4-0 in the opening game of their Southeastern Conference series Friday night at The Box.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU second inning - Christian Ibarra singled and advanced to second on Andrew Stevenson's sacrifice bunt. Ibarra went to third on a single by Chris Chinea. Ibarra scored on Kramer Robertson's ground out to the shortstop. Chinea scored on a double by Sean McMullen. LSU 2, GEORGIA 0
LSU fourth inning - Ibarra walked and moved to second on Stevenson's sacrifice bunt. Ibarra advanced to third on a single by Chinea. Ibarra scored on Robertson's ground out to the third baseman. LSU 3, GEORGIA 0
LSU fifth inning - Kade Scivicque singled and went to second on Conner Hale's sacrifice bunt. Scivicque scored on a double by Ibarra. LSU 4, Georgia 0.
LSU WASTED SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
First inning - McMullen singled and moved to second on a wild pitcher by Ryan Lawlor. After Mark Laird struck out and Alex Bregman lined out to the centerfielder, Scivicque was hit by a pitch. McMullen stole third base. Scivicque was called out when he was hit by Hale's ground ball.
Seventh inning - With two out, Hale walked and moved to second on a passed ball by Zack Bowers. Ibarra popped out to the third baseman.
Ibarra broke out of a nearly three-week slump with two hits and a RBI. Ibarra, who also drew a walk, scored two runs. He was involved in each of LSU's three run-scoring innings. Ibarra led off the second with a single and scored on Robertson's infield out. Then, Ibarra led off the fourth with a walk and scored on another Robertson infield out. Ibarra had a RBI double in the fifth. The multiple-hit game was the first for Ibarra since March 2 against Yale. Ibarra was 3-for-20 since that game against Yale.
Nola had thrown 117 pitches when he was lifted after walking Jess Posey with two out in the seventh. Nola gave up just two hits - a single by Hunter Cole in the first and a double by Nelson Ward in the third. He walked a career-high four batters and struck out eight. Nola retired Georgia in order in four innings. The Bulldogs threatened with two out in the first on Cole's single and two walks. Nola struck out Jared Walsh to end the inning. Georgia had runners at first and second with two out in the third when Ward was thrown out trying to steal third base by Chinea. Nola picked up the fifth victory of the season and the 24th of his career. Nola has given up one run in 30.1 innings this year.
Zac Person, who has taken over Kurt McCune's job in the seventh inning, came in with a runner at first and two out. Person gave up an infield single by pinch-hitter Heath Holder before getting Stephen Wrenn to ground out to the first baseman Hale. Person gave up a one-out single by Conor Welton in the eighth before striking out Cole and Bowers. In the ninth, Person struck out the first two hitters. He gave up a double by Posey and was lifted for Joe Broussard, who struck out pinch-hitter Sean McLaughlin to end the game. Person struck out a season-high four batters.
Chinea was the catcher with Scivicque the designated hitter. Hale was the first baseman with Robertson the second baseman. . .Stevenson had sacrifice bunts in his first two at-bats to tie the school record. Numerous LSU players have two sacrifice bunts in a game. . .Chinea had singles in each of his first two plate appearances. Chinea's only other two-hit game came against Purdue on March 9. He had been 0-for-7 since the two-hit game against the Boilermakers. . .Chinea had a pair of two-hit games last season. . .McMullen extended his hitting streak to four games with a first-inning single. . .Bregman, who went 0-for-4, now has four hits in his last 26 at-bats. . .LSU stranded eight runners, six in scoring position. The Tigers were 5-for-14 with runners in scoring position. . .Georgia's starting pitcher Lawlor gave up four runs and eight hits in 4.2 innings. . .Bulldogs relief pitcher Ross Ripple allowed no hits in 3.1 innings. . .No Georgia batter had more than one hit. Tigers pitchers registered 13 strikeouts. The shutout was the ninth of the season - as many as LSU had all of last year. . .The Tigers are 19-4 overall, 2-2 in the SEC. LSU is one of six teams who have split its first four conference games. The Tigers trail Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Mississippi State by one game. . .Georgia is 14-9 overall, 1-3 in the SEC. The Bulldogs are one of four teams with just one league victory. . .The paid attendance was 10,929. The actual crowd was 7,103.
FROM THE CLUBHOUSE
"This was a hard-fought game. Aaron Nola is a control pitcher who doesn't walk guys. He was around the strike zone. But, the umpire thought the pitches were balls, so they are balls. Nola had to overcome that. So many young players can learn from Aaron Nola. He maintains his poise and composure and does what needs to be done. He was forced to throw a lot of pitches early. But, he settled in and dominated the game. He cruised through the sixth inning."
"Zac Person was another key to the game. He was fantastic. You are seeing an evolution with him. Zach is much more than a situational lefthander. Offensively, we had some good at-bats. We had some bad luck early in the game when the ball hit Scivicque. I thought the ball was past the first baseman when it hit him which would have made it irrelevant. The umpire (Josh Miller) thought the runner and the first baseman were even. We got leadoff batters on base and executed some sacrifice bunts. We had a lot of good at-bats."
"I didn't have my best stuff. It was kind of a control issue. I was up and down throughout the game. I got in some bad counts. That's how I gave up four walks. It does get frustrating (not getting the close pitches). I have to flush it. They also hit some hard balls right at us. My goal is to keep the team in the game and not give up any runs however I do it. I am not going to have my stuff every time. I am most proud of putting up zeros."
"It was de je vu in that we scored the same way in two innings. Kramer got two strikes and battled each time. I've been hitting the ball well, just not getting hits. I have been going deep in counts. I sat back a little longer today. In the first inning, the plate was tight (for Nola). He overcame it. Something like that is big for Nola."
LSU will play host to Georgia at The Box on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Jared Poche (4-1) will be the starting pitcher for the Tigers. The game will be broadcast on CST.