Sean McMullen drove in three runs and Aaron Nola maintained his perfect record as No. 2 LSU defeated No. 10 South Carolina 5-2 on Friday night at Alex Box Stadium.
McMullen went 2 for 3 with a double, two-run single, sacrifice fly and was hit by a pitch and scored a run.
Nola (8-0) pitched his third consecutive complete game as the Tigers improved to 11-0 in games he has started. He allowed a run in the fifth, ending a streak of 15 scoreless inning, and another run in the ninth.
McMullen led off the game for LSU with a double against USC starter Nolan Belcher (6-4) but didn’t score. Mark Laird’s groundout moved McMullen to third, but Alex Bregman struck out and Mason Katz lined to right.
The first two Tigers went out in the second as Raph Rhymes and Christian Ibarra both struck out, but the bottom third of the order set up McMullen. Ty Ross and JaCoby Jones walked, Jared Foster singled to load the bases and McMullen singled home two runs.
The bottom third started a rally again in the fourth. Ross led off with a single and Jones and Foster followed with singles to load the bases. McMullen’s sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
Nola sailed through the early innings, retiring the first 10 batters and getting four strikeouts.
The Gamecocks’ first threat came in the fourth when Chase Vergason got a one-out single and one out later LB Dantzler was hit by a pitch. Nola got out of it when Max Schrock grounded to short and Bregman flipped to Jones for a force at second.
Nola got the first two outs in the fifth before Connor Bright singled. Tanner English hit a line dribe into left center and Laird dove late and missed the ball, which got past him. Bright scored as Rhymes ran down the ball and threw to Bregman, whose relay to Ross cut down English at the plate, preserving LSU’s 3-1 lead.
The Tigers scored with another two-out rally in the sixth. McMullen was hit by a pitch and Laird singled him to third. Right-hander Patrick Sullivan relieved Belcher and gave up an RBI single to Bregman to make it 4-1.
LSU added an unearned run in the seventh. Rhymes led off with a grounder to third that Vergason threw away, sending Rhymes to second. Ibarra sacrificed Rhymes to third and Ross singled him home.
Nola gave up two two-out singles in the sixth before getting Schrock to ground out.
He retired the side in the order in the seventh and eighth before Joey Pankake led off the ninth with his ninth homer of the season, making it 5-2. Nola got the last three batters in order.
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