BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU pitcher Paul Skenes allowed one hit and fired a career-high 13 strikeouts Friday night against Butler to propel the Tigers to a series-opening 12-2 victory inside Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU moved to 8-1 on the season and the Bulldogs fell to 2-8 on the year.
Saturday’s contest is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. CT first pitch at “the Box.” The Tigers will face Central Connecticut State, and fans can view the matchup on SEC Network+. The game can also be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates.
Skenes held the Butler hitters down throughout his entire outing. Through the first three innings, he faced 10 batters and fired seven strikeouts in that span. By the end of the inning, Skenes had thrown an economical 38 pitches.
“That was clinic tonight by Paul,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “He’s special, and I’m certainly glad he’s here. He was just Paul being Paul.”
Skenes (3-0) continued his impressive outing by pitching into the sixth inning. He finished with six innings pitched while giving up no runs on one hit. His 13 punchouts mark the first time an LSU pitcher had that many strikeouts since Zack Hess sat down 13 batters against Toledo on March 2, 2018.
Butler starter Cole Graverson gave the LSU hitters a tough time to begin the game, but the Tigers settled in. Graverson (0-1) was charged with the loss after tossing four innings and allowing five runs on three hits.
Freshman Gavin Guidry, who arrived at LSU as a position player, got his first appearance on the mound. He picked up four strikeouts in only one inning of work. A quartet of other Tiger relievers, including Micah Bucknam, Griffin Herring, Aiden Moffett and Sam Dutton put together two innings of one-run baseball.
LSU opened the scoring in the bottom of the third after third baseman Ben Nippolt reached base via a walk. Following two straight strikeouts, designated hitter Tommy White hit a ball into no-man’s-land down the right field line. Nippolt scored from second after stealing the bag in the previous at-bat.
The Tigers’ loudest inning came in the fifth inning when Nippolt reached on a catcher’s interference and second baseman Gavin Dugas walked. Centerfielder Dylan Crews smoked a ball over the right-center field wall for a three-run shot. LSU led 4-0 with no outs.
“That was the best player in college baseball hitting the ball the other way when we really needed a spark,” Johnson said. “Seeing Dylan around here every day really puts a smile on my face.”
LSU hitters continued their offensive onslaught against Bulldog reliever Colin Davis. The Tigers added one run on a fielder’s choice to make the score 5-0. After a single from first baseman Jared Jones and a walk from right fielder Paxton Kling, catcher Alex Milazzo laid down a bunt and earned two RBI.
Left fielder Tre’ Morgan scored from third and pinch runner Josh Pearson used his speed and beat a throw home to increase the lead to 7-0.
LSU added to its lead in the sixth inning with two runs, and further padded the lead in the seventh with an RBI single from freshman Ethan Frey. Tiger senior Cade Beloso made the score 12-0 with a two-RBI double to the right-centerfield wall to close out the seventh.
The Bulldogs scratched one across in the eighth to get in on the scoring and added one more in the ninth to account for the final margin.