Skenes Strikes Out 12, as LSU Beats Western Michigan in Opener
Skenes (1-0), making his debut in an LSU uniform, worked six shutout frames, allowing just three hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts.
BATON ROUGE, La. – Right-hander Paul Skenes blanked Western Michigan through six innings Friday, leading top-ranked LSU to a 10-0 win in the Tigers’ 2023 season opener in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU is 1-0 this season, while Western Michigan dropped to 0-1. The teams resume the series at 1:30 p.m. CT Saturday in a game that will be carried on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network and streamed on SEC Network +.
LSU won its 22nd straight season-opening game; the Tigers’ last loss in a season opener came in 2001 versus Kansas State by a 9-8 score.
Skenes (1-0), making his debut in an LSU uniform, worked six shutout frames, allowing just three hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts. The 12 Ks represented the most by an LSU pitcher since April 15, 2021, when Landon Marceaux recorded 12 strikeouts versus South Carolina.
Skenes’ effort also marked the most strikeouts by an LSU pitcher in a season opener since Scott Schultz fanned 12 Lamar batters in the 1995 season opener in the Winn-Dixie Showdown at the Louisiana Superdome.
“Paul was outstanding tonight, and he showed why he’s the best pitcher in college baseball,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “He is very detailed in his approach, and he executed his plan precisely.”
The Tigers collected 10 hits in Friday’s contest, including a two-run double by freshman designated hitter Jared Jones. Centerfielder Dylan Crews was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and second baseman Ben Nippolt produced two RBI with a fielder’s choice grounder and a sacrifice fly.
Western Michigan starting pitcher Brady Miller (0-1) was charged with the loss, as he allowed four runs on four hits in five innings with three walks and three strikeouts.
“The hitting conditions were not good at all today with such a strong wind blowing in,” Johnson said. “I was told we hit 10 balls off the bat at 98 mph, but it didn’t feel like that, because the wind was knocking down those hard-hit balls. We did handle our at-bats well with strike zone discipline that resulted in five walks and two hit-by-pitches to create offense. We really executed well, which is a big part of our training.”
LSU struck for two runs in the bottom of the first inning as third baseman Tommy White delivered an RBI single, and first baseman Tre’ Morgan lifted a sacrifice fly.
The Tigers expanded the lead to 3-0 in the second when catcher Brady Neal tripled and scored on Nippolt’s ground ball.
LSU erupted for five runs in the sixth, a rally that was highlighted by Jones’ two-run double and sacrifice flies by Neal and Nippolt.
Eighth-inning RBI singles by shortstop Jordan Thompson and by pinch hitter Ethan Frey accounted for the final margin.