With No. 1 Arkansas coming to Alex Box Stadium Friday to start a three-game SEC series and final exams being conducted this week, LSU needed a quick, easy non-conference game Tuesday afternoon.
Grambling was what the doctor ordered in a 7-0 shutout for LSU.
In a game rescheduled from April 13 because of inclement weather, LSU (25-15) took 6-0 lead over the G-Men (14-20) after three innings. Eight LSU pitchers combined to work nine scoreless innings while scattering five hits (all singles) and striking out 12 batters.
“We had just played an emotional series at Ole Miss, Arkansas is coming in this weekend, and our players are in the middle of final exams, so the coach has to worry about a ‘trap’ game,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, whose team improved to 10-0 in midweek non-conference games this season. “(Starting pitcher) Ma’Khail Hilliard gave us three terrific innings, and all of the pitchers threw the ball well. It was a good, solid victory for us, now the guys can focus on their final exams, and then we’ll get ready for Arkansas.
Hilliard (3-0) earned the win as he worked three shutout innings, allowing just one hit with no walks and five strikeouts. LSU relievers combined to limit Grambling over the final six innings to no runs on four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
LSU hammered Grambling starter Antoine Valerio (3-2) early and often as he surrendered six runs on nine hits in 2.2 innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
LSU grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second inning when shortstop Jordan Thompson launched a solo homer – his seventh home run of the year – and designated hitter Cade Beloso ripped an RBI double into the right-centerfield gap.
The hometown Tigers added four runs in the third as first baseman Tre’ Morgan doubled and scored on right fielder Dylan Crews’ single, center fielder Giovanni DiGiacomo slapped a two-run double and second baseman Zach Arnold lifted a RBI sacrifice fly.
A solo homer by left fielder Brody Drost – his fourth blast of the year – ended LSU’s scoring in the seventh inning.