AUBURN, Ala. – Freshman left-hander Jared Poche’ fired eight shutout innings Thursday night and eighth-ranked LSU pounded out 15 hits en route to a 10-0 victory over Auburn at Plainsman Park.
LSU improved to 38-14-1 overall and 15-11-1 in the SEC, while Auburn dropped to 28-26 and 10-18.
Game 2 of the series is set for 6 p.m. CT Friday, and it can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network. Junior right-hander Aaron Nola will start the game on the mound for LSU, while Auburn will counter with senior left-hander Michael O’Neal.
Poche’ (8-3) fired 108 pitches in eight innings, allowing just three hits with one walk and five strikeouts. The shutout was the 16th of the season for LSU, which leads the nation in that category.
The Tigers, 27-0 winners over Northwestern State on Tuesday, have scored 37 runs on 38 hits in their last two games while blanking the opposition.
“An outstanding overall performance by our team in all three phases of the game,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Our hitters again demonstrated a lot of confidence at the plate and swung the bats well against an excellent pitcher (Auburn starter Dillon Ortman). We got off to a strong start in the first inning and gave Poche’ a cushion early.
“I don’t think of Jared as a freshman anymore; he’s a grizzled veteran. He didn’t throw as many first-pitch strikes as we would have liked, but he recovered and located the way he needed to. It was a great way to start the series, but we realize we have more work to do.”
LSU is in contention both for the SEC Western Division title and a top-four finish in the conference standings. The top four teams in the league receive a first-round bye in next week’s SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.
The Tigers were led at the plate by centerfielder Andrew Stevenson and by catcher Tyler Moore, who each collected three RBI. Rightfielder Mark Laird was 3-for-4 and scored two runs, and leftfielder Jake Fraley was 3-for-5 with one RBI and one run.
LSU struck for three runs in the top of the first inning against Ortman (9-4). The Tigers collected four hits in the frame, including a two-run double by Stevenson and an RBI single by Moore.
Ortman was charged with the loss as he worked two innings, allowing six runs on seven hits with one walk and one strikeout.
LSU extended the lead to 6-0 in the third as Moore delivered a two-run double, and first baseman Danny Zardon drove in a run on a fielder’s choice grounder.
LSU added two runs in the sixth to increase the margin to 8-0. Laird singled, moved to second on a double by shortstop Alex Bregman and scored on a throwing error by catcher Blake Austin, who was attempting to pick off Laird. Fraley then singled to left field to score Bregman.
The Tigers scored two more runs in the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Stevenson and an RBI single by pinch hitter Kade Scivicque.