LSU’s starting pitcher set a career-high for strikeouts for the second consecutive night as Ryan Eades struck out 11 Brown batters in the Tigers’ 7-1 victory Saturday night in Alex Box Stadium.
Aaron Nola struck out a career-high 11 though he got a no-decision in LSU’s 4-3 victory against the Bears on Friday. Eades (2-0), whose previous high was eight on two occasions, pitched six innings and allowed five hits and one unearned run.
“It was definitely one of Ryan’s better nights,” catcher Ty Ross said. “He was commanding his fastball well. Later in the game he found his changeup, which helped him. His curveball was sharp and tight. He competed like he always does.”
Eades lowered his earned run average to 0.49 and he has 22 strikeouts in 18.1 innings.
“I just tried to work ahead and be aggressive,” Eades said. “My changeup wasn’t really working early on, but in the last two innings it really started coming around. I was able to keep my breaking ball down and make some quality two-strike pitches.
“I was just trying to finish the hitters because lat year with two strikes I’d make too good of a pitch with two strikes and they’d get a hit. I’m just trying to minimize that this year.”
Raph Rhymes had a two-run double and RBI-single, Mason Katz had an RBI-triple, and Christian Ibarra an RBI-single to lead the Tigers’ 14-hit attack.
Will LaMarche gave up one hit in a scoreless seventh, Hunter Devall pitched a perfect eighth and Kevin Berry hit a batter in a scoreless ninth.
LSU’s difficulty hitting with runners in scoring position Friday night carried over into Saturday — except for a decisive second inning and the eighth.
The Tigers had just two hits in 16 at bats with runners in scoring position Friday and stranded 11 runners, eight in scoring position, Saturday.
Chris Sciambra and Mark Laird started the first inning with infield singles and Alex Bregman got a hit with a runner in scoring position, but his single to right was hit too hard for Sciambra to score.
Rhymes and Katz struck out and JaCoby Jones grounded to second to leave the bases loaded.
“We struggled (with runners in scoring position) last night as well,” Rhymes said. “Today it started kind of like here we go again, but nobody panicked and that was good to see. We got the hits when we needed them.”
Brown took an early 1-0 lead on an unearned run for the second consecutive night. After having done so in the first inning Friday the Bears did the same in the second Saturday.
Wes Van Boom led off with a double and one-out later, Katz threw wide of Eades covering first on Cody Slaughter’s grounder to the right side and the two-base error sent Van Boom home.
The Tigers broke through in the bottom half. Tyler Moore led off with a double, Ross was hit by a pitch and Ibarra singled home Moore. Ross, who went to third on Ibarra’s hit, came home as Sciambra hit into a double play.
Laird walked, Bregman singled and Rhymes doubled both of them home. Katz followed with a fly to left that dropped just inside fair territory for a triple that made it 5-1.
In the eighth, Rhymes singled home one run and the final run scored as Katz hit into a double play.
“I thought the hitting was good tonight,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “In the second inning we got a lot of big hits. In the (middle innings) we kept getting runners in scoring position with two outs and we just couldn’t get the two-out hit. But the at bats were pretty good.
“I thought we swung the bats a lot better tonight with a lot more aggressiveness, a lot more confidence. We were more focused and ready to play today. I think yesterday was a little bit of a wakeup call for them.’’
Sciambra and Laird swapped defensive positions as Sciambra moved from center field to right and Laird from right to center. … Rhymes and Katz both have eight-game hitting streaks going into Sunday. … Brown defeated Nicholls State 5-4 in 12 innings earlier Saturday and those two teams will meet again at 11 a.m. Sunday. … Mainieri was honored in a ceremony Friday night when his alma mater, St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Fla., named its new field after him — Paul Demie Mainieri Field at Frank R. Esposito Stadium.
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