Feb 21, 2014 11:48 PM by LSU Sports Information
BATON ROUGE, La. - Junior right-hander Aaron Nola pitched seven innings of no-hit baseball Friday night as LSU downed Virginia Tech, 9-0, at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU (5-0) returns to Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field Saturday to face Toledo at 6 p.m. The contest will follow a 1 p.m. matchup between Texas Southern and Virginia Tech (1-2), which is free to the public.
The LSU-Toledo game can be heard in Baton Rouge on WTGE 100.7 FM. Live stats, video and audio will be available at LSUsports.net.
Nola (2-0) fired 87 pitches and recorded eight strikeouts and one walk without allowing a hit. It was the deepest an LSU pitcher worked without surrendering a hit since April 15, 1995, when right-hander Brian Winders recorded 8.2 hitless innings at Ole Miss.
Alden Cartwright and Zac Person relieved Nola for the final two innings and allowed a hit apiece. LSU has recorded three shutouts in its first five games of the 2014 season.
"Aaron Nola was simply brilliant tonight," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "In my mind, he's the best pitcher in the country, and he certainly demonstrated it with this outing. It would have been nice to allow him to keep going after seven innings, but he had thrown nearly 90 pitches in an early-season game, and it was in Aaron's best interest that he come out of the game at that time. We've got a long, challenging regular-season ahead of us, and we need a healthy Aaron Nola leading us throughout the year."
LSU struck for four runs in the second inning after a RBI single by sophomore centerfielder Andrew Stevenson was followed by a three-run home run from designated hitter Sean McMullen.
The middle of the order sparked a three-run third inning for the Tigers. Shortstop Alex Bregman started the inning with a double to the right-center field gap. Second baseman Conner Hale then reached on an error before catcher Chris Chinea advanced the runners on a groundout to second.
Third baseman Christian Ibarra then lined a two-RBI double to left and advanced to third on the throw. First baseman Tyler Moore plated Ibarra on a hard single to the first base side.
The Tigers produced two runs in the fourth inning with a Chinea sacrifice fly and Ibarra's RBI single to right-center field to plate leftfielder Mark Laird.
Bregman has reached base safely in all five games this season. McMullen and Ibarra matched career highs with three RBI apiece. Ibarra also matched a career high with three hits. In innings two through four this season, the Tigers have outscored opponents 22-0.
Virginia Tech's Brad Markey (1-1) was charged with the loss. Markey went 2.1 innings and gave up seven runs, one earned, on six hits and a walk.