Nola blanks Tide in LSU win

Aaron Nola was masterful on Saturday

Playing the first game of a Saturday double feature, LSU cruised to a 2-0 victory over Alabama courtesy of a gem from junior Aaron Nola.

In what was likely his last regular-season start at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field, LSU junior pitcher Aaron Nola delivered a masterful performance, shutting out Alabama in a 2-0 victory Saturday afternoon.

Sixth-ranked LSU improved to 36-13-1 overall and 14-10-1 in the SEC. No. 19 Alabama dropped to 31-19 overall and 13-12 in league play.

The teams will play in Game 2 of the doubleheader tonight at 7 p.m. It can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network, and live video is available in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.

Tickets for Saturday night's game are on sale at LSUtix.net, and tickets will be on sale at the stadium beginning at 5 p.m.

Nola (8-1) retired the first 15 batters he faced en route to the shutout, striking out nine and scattering four hits in the process. Alabama right-hander Spencer Turnbull (5-5) suffered a tough-luck loss after giving up two earned runs through eight innings of work.

The outing was the first shutout by an LSU pitcher this season and the fourth of Nola's storied career at LSU. His career strikeouts total increased to 322, as he claimed sole possession of fourth on LSU's all-time strikeouts list.

"You feel like you're doing a disservice to Aaron's performances because it's hard to find the words to describe how extraordinary he is," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "He led the way for us today, and he was outstanding from beginning to end. In the ninth inning, he was still able to throw exactly the pitches he wanted to throw, and he located them precisely. I get a little emotional when talking about Aaron, because he's an exceptional young man as well as the best pitcher in the country. What a privilege it's been for me to be his coach for the past three seasons."

The shutout was the first thrown by an LSU pitcher since June 7, 2013, when Nola blanked Oklahoma in Game 1 of the NCAA Super Regional at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

The Tigers struck first in the bottom of the second when freshman outfielder Jake Fraley hit an unconventional double off of the second base bag and scored on a single by catcher Tyler Moore.

Fraley added another insurance run in the fourth, scoring on a two-out RBI double by freshman first baseman Danny Zardon.

Senior outfielder Mark Laird finished 3-for-4, marking the fifth time this season in which he has recorded at least three hits in a game.

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