Mar 9, 2013 12:03 AM by LSU
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Starting pitcher Aaron Nola (2-0) retired the first 18 batters he faced Friday night as No. 3 LSU (13-1) collected 13 hits in a 9-4 victory over Washington (4-8).
Nola earned the victory, allowing four runs in 6.1 innings of work while striking out six. He did not allow a Huskie to reach base until the seventh inning.
"Aaron Nola was brilliant through the first six innings, and you have to credit Washington for finally getting to him in the seventh," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "I don't think it was necessarily a case of Aaron throwing bad pitches; Washington just did a nice job of stringing together some hits."
The Tigers jumped ahead 2-0 in the third inning with an RBI single to left from centerfielder Mark Laird, followed by an RBI single up the middle from left fielder Raph Rhymes, who went 3-for-5, extending his hit streak to 12 straight games and his on-base streak to 14 games.
In the fourth inning second baseman JaCoby Jones stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Jones then scored on a sacrifice fly from catcher Ty Ross increasing the Tigers' lead to 3-0.
LSU doubled its lead in the fifth after a Washington error and a two-out, two-RBI double down the third base line from third baseman Christian Ibarra.
"I was very pleased with our offensive approach throughout the game," Mainieri said. "We were aggressive at the plate and delivered key hits when we needed them. There was never a sense of panic after Washington had their big inning; our guys stayed focused and gave us the cushion we needed."
The Huskies rallied back in the seventh with four runs of their own, including a two-RBI single from first baseman Trevor Mitsui, cutting the Tigers' lead to 6-4.
LSU quickly responded in the bottom half of the seventh with another RBI hit from Ibarra, who finished 2-for-4 on the night.
The Tigers added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth after an RBI-single from Rhymes and a Huskie error.
Reliever Chris Cotton took the mound in the ninth with the bases loaded and retired three straight hitters to record his fourth save of the season.
Washington starting pitcher Nick Palewicz (2-3) suffered the loss, giving up three earned runs (six runs overall), on eight hits.
Ibarra also shined on the defensive side of the diamond with a diving catch and throw from third base on the game's first pitch.