No. 7 Baseball Tosses Shutout in Series Opener

LSU's Kevin Gausman
LSU's Kevin Gausman
Hilary Scheinuk
Seth Medvin
Seth Medvin

BATON ROUGE -- No. 7 LSU (5-0) utilized a spectacular pitching display by sophomore Kevin Gausman Friday night to post a 4-0 win over Appalachian State (2-2) in the first game of the three-game series in Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers host the Mountaineers in Game 2 Saturday with the first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. Sophomore right-hander Ryan Eades (1-0) is slated to take the mound for LSU.

LSU has posted three shutouts in its first five games. The six runs allowed by LSU through five games is the Tigers' lowest total to start the season since the 1996 squad also gave up just six runs in its first five games.

Gausman (2-0) worked the zone and used his overpowering fastball to set up his changeup and knee-buckling curveball. The righty treated the hometown fans with one strikeout in each of seven innings of work, six of which recorded the final out of the frame. 

The Centennial, Colo. native increased his scoreless streak to 12 innings in the process and has allowed eight hits in 13 innings so far this season.

Right-hander Aaron Nola sparkled in relief, closing the door in the eighth and ninth innings. The freshman allowed no hits and struck out four.

Catcher Ty Ross reached base four times and drove home one, shortstop Austin Nola scored twice and rightfielder Mason Katz added a single and a double for LSU.

Appalachian State starter Seth Grant (0-1) was charged with the loss, as he surrendered four runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings with two walks and three strikeouts.

"I thought we had to play really well tonight to beat a very good Appalachian State ball club," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "Kevin Gausman and Aaron Nola were superb tonight, and we were able to produce some key hits that gave us a lead. Tonight's game was basically the template for how we're going to have to play this year in order to be successful - great pitching and defense, and a determined, gritty approach at the plate."

LSU kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the second. Katz hit a leadoff single into shallow right and moved to second on a wild pitch. After Jackson Slaid and JaCoby Jones went down, Austin Nola drew a full count walk to put runners on first and second.

Ross delivered a base knock just inside the right field line and plated Katz in the process to give LSU the 1-0 lead.

Gausman surrendered his first hit of the outing in the top of the third, but the defense stepped up to prevent any damage. LSU turned a picture- perfect 5-4-3 double play.

Third baseman Tyler Hanover fielded the hard-hit grounder and flipped it to second baseman Casey Yocom, who overcame the hard slide and sailed an on-target throw to Grant Dozar covering first.

The Tigers' offense went back to work in the bottom of the third. Hanover sliced a leadoff single just inside the left field line. Yocom moved Hanover to second on a groundout.

Leftfielder Raph Rhymes punched a single to center and Hanover beat the throw to home by half a step to increase the lead to 2-0.

LSU added its third run in as many innings in the fourth. Nola drew a one out walk, his second of the contest, and advanced to third on Ross's second single of the evening.

Dozar's groundball back to the pitcher was relayed awkwardly to second and the subsequent throw to first was not in time. Nola scored from third on the play.

Appalachian State put a runner on third in the top of the fifth, but Gausman pitched his way out of the jam. He fired a full-count fastball to strike out Zack Briggs.

The Mountaineers threatened again in the top of the sixth. Appalachian State put runners on first and second after back-to-back two out singles. Gausman keeps his scoreless streak going and punched out his fifth batter swinging to end the inning. 

LSU upped the lead to four in the bottom of the sixth against reliever Chad Farmer, who walked Ross on five pitches to put runners on first and second.

Pinch-hitter Jared Foster stepped in for Dozar against the left-hander and promptly plated Nola on an opposite field single in front of the LSU bullpen. Foster now has five RBIs in as many games although he has only started in one contest.

The Mountaineers almost got on the board in the top of the eighth. After Aaron Nola struck out the first two batters he faced, Hector Crespo hit a deep fly to left that was misplayed by Rhymes. Crespo reached third on the three-bag error, but Nola registered his third strikeout to end the threat.

LSU 4, Appalachian State 0 (Feb 24, 2012 at Baton Rouge, La.)

Appalachian State... 000 000 000  -  0  4  2      (2-2)
LSU.......................... 011 101 00X  -  4  9  2      (5-0)

Pitchers: Appalachian State - Seth Grant; Chad Farmer(6); Tyler Moore(7); Jamie Nunn(8) and Jeremy Dowdy.
LSU - Kevin Gausman; Aaron Nola(8) and Ty Ross.
Win-Kevin Gausman(2-0)  Loss-Seth Grant(0-1)  T-2:24  A-10707
Weather: 55F and breezy
Actual attendance: 5,585




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