Ten pitchers combined for a three-hit shutout as LSU defeated Grambling 4-0 at The Box on Wednesday night.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU third inning - With two out, Mark Laird singled and stole second. Alex Bregman walked. Rightfielder Kris Minter dropped Raph Rhymes' fly ball and Laird and Bregman scored. LSU 2, GRAMBLING 0
LSU sixth inning - Rhymes walked. After Mason Katz flied out to centerfield, Rhymes moved to second on a wild pitch by Cory Jordan. Christian Ibarra hit a two-run homer over the leftfield fence. LSU 4, GRAMBLING 0
LSU WASTED SCORING CHANCES
First inning - Sean McMullen was hit by a pitch and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Laird. McMullen was stranded at second as Bregman popped out to second and Rhymes was called out on strikes.
Fourth inning - Ibarra was hit by a pitch. After JaCoby Jones struck out, Andrew Stevenson forced Ibarra at second base. Stevenson stole second. Ty Ross flied out to leftfield to end the inning.
LSU HITTING STAR
Ibarra had the only timely hit of the game for the Tigers. With a runner on second and one out in the sixth inning, Ibarra hit his fourth home run of the season over the leftfield fence. That blast gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead. Ibarra, who also reached base when he was hit by a pitch in the fourth, had just three hits in his previous 15 at-bats going into the game against Grambling.
LSU STARTING PITCHER
Brent Bonvillain pitched his designated two innings. He walked a batter in each inning. Bonvillain struck out Brandon Kiser after issuing a two-out walk in the first. He got Hector Mejias to hit into an inning-ending double play in the second. Bonvillain has now allowed just three hits in his last nine appearances - a span of 13.1 innings. He has given up one run in that stretch. The eight previous outings were in relief.
Making his third appearance of the season, McCune threw two shutout innings. He retired six of the eight batters he faced. McCune allowed a single in both the third and fourth innings. McCune, who picked up his second victory of the season, got three outs on ground balls in his first inning and three outs on fly balls or pop-ups in his second inning. Will LaMarche, who walked or hit four of the five batters he faced against Arkansas on Saturday, got two strikeouts against as many hitters in the fifth. Kevin Berry was greeted by an Edwin Drezler single. He then got Juan Bueno to foul out to the third baseman Ibarra. Hunter Newman threw a scoreless sixth in which he hit a batter. Hunter Devall also hit a batter while not allowing a run in the seventh. Nate Fury and Nick Rumbelow split up the eighth. Fury got two outs on fly balls to leftfield. Rumbelow got his one out on a ground ball. Joey Bourgeois retired the first two hitters in the ninth - one on a strikeout. Chris Cotton got the last out on a ground ball to Ibarra at third base.
LSU used its regular lineup for the first time in a non-conference game in three weeks. The Tigers had all of their regulars in the lineup when they defeated Tulane 14-1 on March 26. . .LSU only had three hits - its fewest in a game this season. The prior low for the Tigers was six hits on three occasions in games against Maryland, BYU and Missouri. Katz and Laird had singles besides Ibarra's home run. . .LSU was 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. The one clutch hit was Ibarra's homer. . .Grambling starting pitcher Jordan allowed four runs and three hits in six innings. Two of the four runs were unearned. . .Grambling only had one runner get past first base. Drexler singled and stole second against Berry with two out in the fourth. . .The shutout was the fifth of the season for the LSU pitching staff. . .LSU once again did not commit an error. . .The victory was the 24th in a row for LSU against in-state opponents. . .LSU is 35-3, while Grambling is 14-22. . .All flags at The Box were flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. . .The actual crowd was 3,654.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri
"This was a strange game for us. I was happy to get out of here with a win. The quality of their starting pitcher surprised us. That guy (Jordan) threw 88 to 91 and had a downward trajectory on his curve ball. Some of our players said he reminded them of Anthony Ranaudo. He caught us off guard. We were not ready to compete against that caliber of pitcher tonight."
(on outings by McCune and Bonvillain) "McCune did a little better job. His fast ball had life and his curve ball had a good downward plane. There were a couple of pitches he would like to have had back, but he made mostly good pitches. Brent fell behind three hitters. You can't pitch when you are behind in counts."
(on naming field after Skip Bertman) "The best thing about today was getting the field named after Skip Bertman. Skip brought notoriety to college baseball. He made it an event. He didn't just build a baseball program at LSU. He built baseball in the South along with Ron Polk."
"There is no telling what we are going to do with the pitching this weekend (Sunday starter). Whatever coach (Maineri) does will be the best for the team. It would be great if I could start. That was my goal since the beginning of fall - to be a weekend starter. If it would be very uplifting if I got back out there after everything that has happened this year."
"The home run came off a fast ball on a 3-1 count. The pitcher was trying to overpower me. It was inside some. I thought it was going to be foul."
LSU will play Alabama at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Crimson Tide (23-16, 8-7) is with Florida, Mississippi State and South Carolina for fourth place in the overall SEC standings. Aaron Nola (6-0, 2.47 ERA) will be the Tigers' starting pitcher.