Early uprising, Hilliard’s outing enable sixth-ranked LSU to close out series in dominant fashion

PHOTO BY: LSU baseball Twitter.

The sixth-ranked LSU baseball team erupted for 11 runs on 11 hits across the first three innings in the series finale against Bethune-Cookman to lift the Tigers to a 15-0 victory Sunday afternoon in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

LSU (13-3) hosts Tulane at 6:30 p.m on Tuesday. The game can be heard on 98.1-FM and streamed on SEC Network+.

“Any time you don’t let them score, it makes it much easier to win,” LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson said. “A really good outing by Ma’Khail today, we really needed that to allow us to level off our pitching staff. We played four games in five days, and we had to push some pitch counts up earlier in the week, so to have Ma’Khail throw the ball so well today was tremendous for us.”

LSU starter Ma’Khail Hilliard threw four perfect innings before B-CU third baseman Jeremy Garcia broke up the perfect game with a single up the middle in the top of the fifth.

Hilliard (1-0) delivered an impressive performance, nonetheless, tossing six innings while only allowing two hits and no runs with six strikeouts. A trio of relievers that included Riley Cooper, Cale Lansville and Trey Shaffer combined to only allow three hits and struck out nine.

LSU pounded out 18 hits, starting with the first two innings that yielded five runs each. In the bottom of the first, sophomore third baseman Jacob Berry began the hit parade with an infield single. Second baseman Cade Doughty continued the hot start with a double to the left-centerfield gap, which advanced Berry to third. Designated hitter Brayden Jobert and shortstop Jordan Thompson followed through with two RBI singles, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead.

“Jordan Thompson is a great player,” Johnson said, “and I feel great when he’s coming up to the plate. He’s had some bad luck this season with hitting some balls hard by right at people. He’s worked hard the past couple of days, made a small adjustment that really paid dividends today, and I was the least surprised person in the park today that he went 4-for-4 knowing the work that he’s put in recently.”

Junior right fielder Giovanni DiGiacomo came to the plate following Thompson’s single and crushed a two-RBI homer to right field, his second of the season.

LSU’s five-run second was anchored by three doubles, a single and two hits-by-pitch. The Tigers began the inning with a hit-by-pitch from catcher Tyler McManus and a double to center field from first baseman Tre’ Morgan. Sophomore Dylan Crews drove in both runs, pushing the LSU lead to 7-0.

After Berry reached on a fielder’s choice and Doughty was hit by a pitch, Jobert and Thompson ripped back-to-back doubles for three RBI. The Tigers held an 11-0 lead after three innings. Following the first scoreless inning of the ballgame, LSU struck again in the bottom half of the fifth, as Doughty smoked a ball to left field for a three-RBI dinger.

The Tigers closed out the impressive offensive outing with 15 runs and a season-high 18 hits.

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