March 7, 2014
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Fourth-ranked LSU's ace pitcher Aaron Nola limited Purdue baseball to just two hits in his fourth consecutive scoreless outing of the young season, leading the way in the Tigers' 10-0 series-opening win Friday evening.
LSU's other returning First Team All-American, shortstop Alex Bregman, hit a three-run homer with two outs in the second inning en route to a four-RBI night.
Nola (4-0), the 2013 Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year, struck out a career-high 12 Friday. He has worked 27 scoreless innings to begin the season and LSU has won each of his first four starts this season in shutout fashion. Sean McHugh was the only Purdue hitter that did not strike out against Nola. He and Kyle Johnson singled to account for the Boilers' only hits while the right-hander was on the mound.
Purdue starter Jordan Minch worked a 1-2-3 first inning, but it turned out to be his only easy frame of the night. He pitched into the seventh but ended up being charged with seven runs after two more scored following his departure. Minch (0-4) struck out Bregman looking to end the first inning, but LSU's No. 3 hitter went deep on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the third for the three-run homer. Both runners that scored on the long ball had reached via walks.
Cody Strong and Kyle Wood singled in the ninth inning against the LSU bullpen to give the Boilers a scoring opportunity, but both runners were left in scoring position. Strong has now reached base safely in each of the first nine games this season. McHugh has been on safely in seven straight, hitting safely in the last six.
In his first action since Feb. 22, Johnson could have had a pair of hits against Nola. He was robbed of a base hit on a diving catch by LSU center field Andrew Stevenson to end the top of the second. Nola retired the first 10 batters of the game in order and worked five 1-2-3 innings total.
Despite some early-season struggles offensively, strikeouts had not been a significant issue for the Boilers in 2014. Entering the night, Purdue had fanned 47 times in the first eight games. The 13 strikeouts were the team's most since April 2009 at Penn State (15). The Boilermakers did not draw a walk for the first time since the opener of last year's series at Michigan State.
Eddie De LaRiva and Joe Eichmann teamed up to strike out the side in the bottom of the eighth inning. Eichmann fanned the only batter he faced in his sixth appearance of the season. The junior pitched in just 11 games over his first two seasons. De LaRiva also struck out the first batter he faced, but an error and three hits allowed LSU to score three times in the frame.
McHugh threw out Stevenson trying to steal in the second inning, the seventh runner the senior has thrown out this season.
Game two of the series is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.