No. 9 LSU squeaks past Nicholls, 2-0

Chris Cotton struck out the side in the ninth

Behind a stellar pitching performance, LSU mustered just enough offense to pull out a 2-0 victory against Nicholls State on Sunday.

No. 9 LSU waited 4 1/3 innings for its first hit Sunday, but the Tigers found enough offense in a clutch sixth inning to pull off a 2-0 win against Nicholls State (7-5).

LSU (10-1) only mustered two baserunners before a two-run sixth inning in which the Tigers strung together four straight hits to produce the only runs they'd need in the victory.

Christian Ibarra kicked things off with a one-out single to left field, and Sean McMullen — who started in right field while Mark Laird moved to center in place of Chris Sciambra — followed with a hit to right. Ibarra advanced to third on the play and scored when Laird blooped a RBI-single over the shortstop's head.

Alex Bregman made it four straight hits with a drilled single up the middle that drove in McMullen, marking his 12th RBI of his young career.

"We were just being patient within the game," McMullen said. "We didn't need to stress ourselves. We just needed good at-bats. We're all good enough that if we have good at-bats, we're going to scratch together a couple of runs."

LSU loaded the bases with two outs in the same inning, but Nicholls 2B Phillip Lyons made a nice stab on a JaCoby Jones liner to end the inning. Though LSU didn't needed the added production, stranding three marked a disturbing trend as the Tigers stranded 26 runners in the first two games.

Nicholls starter Taylor Byrd did pitch a gem of his own, allowing just the two runs in six innings with a pair of strikeouts.

"That pitcher pitched his butt off," McMullen said. "We just had to keep trying to get quality at-bats, and we were lucky enough to put a couple on the board."

The Tigers only needed those two runs because of a stellar day from the pitching staff. Making his first Sunday start, Cody Glenn threw seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits on five strikeouts.

LSU's three starting pitchers — Glenn, Aaron Nola and Ryan Eades — didn't allow an earned run in 27 total innings of work in four games this week.

"That's four really good starts in a row," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "If we can do something like that on a consistent basis, I know, sooner or later, our offense is going to figure it out because we have too many good hitters in our lineup."

The defense, primarily Laird in CF, also had its part in preserving the win. Laird made a nice diving catch early in the game to save extra bases, and ranged deep into the right-center gap with two runners on in the seventh to make an inning-ending out.

"It seems like he can cover the whole outfield by himself," McMullen said.

After Glenn, Joey Bourgeois and Chris Cotton combined to shut out the Colonels in the final two innings. The duo combined for five strikeouts, with Cotton striking out the side as he earned his third save of the season.

"It worked out perfectly," Cotton said. "Cody did a great job of shutting them down in his first Sunday start. Our hitters got those two runs and me and Joey were able to shut them down in the final two innings."

LSU heads into the final week before SEC play with a pair of midweek contests on tap. The Tigers face Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday and follow that with a Wednesday tilt against Sacred Heart.

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