BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU (31-19, 9-16 SEC) broke a scoreless tie with a three-run fourth inning and rode freshman starter Kevin Gausman's complete game shutout gem to a 9-0 victory against Tennessee (23-25, 5-20 SEC).
The Tigers added five runs in the sixth and another in the seventh to erase any thoughts of a Volunteer comeback. Gausman (4-6) recorded seven strikeouts, allowed four hits and commanded the strike zone from the outset without allowing a single walk.
Gausman pitched LSU's first complete-game shutout since May 2, 2009 when Louis Coleman blanked Arkansas in Fayetteville.
"Kevin Gausman has the ability to be one of the elite pitchers in the SEC, and he demonstrated that tonight," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "He pounded the strike zone with his fastball, and he complemented it with a great change-up. He really controlled the game and was very efficient with his pitches.
"We had hitting throughout the lineup tonight against a very good pitcher. I was very pleased with our approach at the plate, but the key for us will be to follow up this performance with another strong effort in tomorrow's game."
LSU cranked out 17 hits, including 13 against Tennessee starter Steven Gruver (4-7) to provide the run support Gausman needed to go the distance. The Tigers utilized extra-base hits and small ball to build their lead.
Raph Rhymes led off the fourth with a hot shot single past the shortstop. Mason Katz slammed a double off the left field wall to score Rhymes. Mikie Mahtook's RBI single past the third baseman brought in Katz.
Mahtook led off the bottom of the sixth with a single between first and second. Hanover would advance Mahtook to third on a perfectly timed hit and run. With runners on first and third, Edward notched his second RBI of the game with a single to right. After Ty Ross was hit by a pitch to load the bases, JaCoby Jones delivered an RBI single to bring in Hanover.
Rhymes dribbled a single in front of catcher Ethan Bennett to score Edward. With the bases loaded, Katz stepped up and smacked his second double of the game to to plate two more and increase the lead to 8-0.
Austin Nola nearly missed a grand slam two batters later on a deep fly to the right field track.
The Tigers came back out in the bottom of the seventh and continued their success against Volunteer's reliever Carter Watson. Back-to-back singles by Hanover and Edward put runners on the corners in the LSU seventh. With one out, Jones's double to left-center scored Hanover.
Gausman was on fire from pitches No. 1 to 109, and he struck out the final two batters in the ninth.
LSU made spectacular defensive plays all over the infield to keep runners off of the bases for Gausman. In the top of the fifth, Hanover made a diving throw to first after charging and scooping up a slow grounder off the bat of Chris Fritts.
The middle of the order took charge for LSU. Katz had two doubles and three RBIs, Mahtook had three singles, scored twice and added an RBI, Hanover had three singles and scored twice and Edward had three singles and a sacrifice bunt, while scoring twice and plating two. Jones also connected for two hits and two RBIs.
Mahtook collected three hits in a game for the sixth time this season.
Game 2 of the series starts at 3 p.m. Saturday, and Game 3 will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Both games can be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live audio and stats of the games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.
Live video of Sunday's game may be accessed at www.LSUsports.net, and live video may be viewed on Saturday at www.ESPN3.com.
Saturday's game will be carried by Cox Sports Television and Comcast Sports Southeast and Sunday's game is a Jumbo Sports Network production that can be seen on Cox Cable Channel 4 in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette.
LSU will honor on Saturday College Baseball Hall of Fame member Eddy Furniss, who was inducted into the hall last summer. Furniss, who played first base at LSU from 1995-98, will be recognized on the field prior to the 3 p.m. first pitch versus Tennessee.
Sunday is Senior Day in Alex Box Stadium, as senior pitchers Ben Alsup and Daniel Bradshaw will be recognized prior to the 1 p.m. first pitch. Also scheduled to be recognized prior to Sunday's game is former LSU pitcher Butch Mixon, who established a school record on April 28, 1959 when he recorded 24 strikeouts against Southwestern Louisiana.
LSU 9, Tennessee 0 (May 13, 2011 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Tennessee........... 000 000 000 - 0 4 0 (23-25, 5-20 SEC)
LSU.................... 000 305 10X - 9 17 1 (31-19, 9-16 SEC)
Pitchers: Tennessee - Steven Gruver; Carter Watson(7); Jon Reed(8) and Ethan Bennett; Wes Walker.
LSU - Kevin Gausman and Ty Ross.
Win-Kevin Gausman(4-6) Loss-Steven Gruver(4-7) T-2:21 A-10111
Actual Attendance: 5185