BATON ROUGE, La. -- With his fourth consecutive complete game performance, sophomore right-hander Aaron Nola propelled No. 3 LSU (42-6, 18-5 SEC) to a 5-0 series clinching victory over No. 19 Florida (25-23, 12-12 SEC) Friday night in Alex Box Stadium.
Nola became the first Tiger pitcher to throw four straight complete games since Mike Sirotka in 1993. Nola allowed four hits and one walk while striking out three Florida batters.
In his last four outings, Nola (9-0) has allowed a combined four runs while striking out 31 opposing hitters.
Friday’s victory also marked head coach Paul Mainieri’s 300th career win at LSU, as he improved his record to 300-128-2 in seven seasons at the helm of the Fighting Tiger program.
LSU and Florida will face off in the series finale on Saturday at Noon. The game will air on ESPN2 and the LSU Sports Radio Network.
“Aaron gave us another tremendous performance; the conditions definitely weren’t great for offense tonight, and I think that helped him go the distance,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “He didn’t have to run up his pitch count too high by striking out a lot of batters; the conditions allowed him to pitch to contact and let his defense make plays behind him. He was at 94 pitches going into the ninth inning, so we decided to let him finish, but we weren’t going to let him go much longer.
An RBI groundout from second baseman JaCoby Jones gave LSU a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Designated hitter Sean McMullen delivered an RBI double in the fifth frame to double the Tigers’ lead. Outfielder Mark Laird added another run in the inning on an RBI groundout to second, putting LSU ahead 3-0.
In the eighth inning, outfielder Andrew Stevenson beat out a ground ball to short, adding two more insurance runs.
“I didn’t think we had a great night offensively,” Mainieri said, “but that was mainly due to the wind blowing in and the cold temperatures. We’re capable of doing more, and we’re looking forward to another opportunity tomorrow.”
Florida starting left-hander Bobby Poyner (2-2) suffered the defeat, giving up three runs on four hits and two walks.