No. 2 LSU handily beats North Dakota State again in final game before SEC play starts

No. 2 LSU baseball easily beat North Dakota State University in the in last game before SEC play start. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

No. 2 LSU baseball cruised to a 7-0 win over North Dakota State University in the final game before SEC play starts.

LSU’s pitching continued to shine like it has for much of the season. Griffin Herring got the start and made it through 1.2 innings. He gave up just one hit and recorded two strikeouts. NDSU (3-13) managed just three hits and no extra base hits on the game. The Tigers pitched six different players and recorded 13 strikeouts. The shutout was their third of the season.

“It was a really good effort by our pitchers,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “I was pleased with Griffin and his efficiency, and Christian gave us a great outing with four strikeouts.”

LSU (16-2) recorded seven hits including two doubles and a homer. Mac Bingham led the way with two RBI and had two hits. Brady Neal reached base in both of his at bats thanks to walks.

LSU started the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Tommy White doubled before two-straight walks loaded the bases. Hayden Travinski reached base on a groundout that scored White and an error on the throw kept the bases loaded. Michael Braswell III was hit by a pitch and Paxton Kling drew a walk to score two more runs for LSU before the Bison got out of the inning.

Herring was replaced by Christian Little with a runner on and two outs gone in the second inning. Little recorded a strikeout to end the inning.

“I thought Griffin was sharp,” Johnson said. “Got us five outs on 35 pitches or something like that which was great. He struck a couple guys out.”

Neither team could manage much on offense outside of the first inning runs from LSU until the fifth inning. Nic Bronzini replaced Little to start the fifth. Bronzini struck out two batters and walked another before being pulled for Will Hellmers. Hellmers got out of the inning without allowing anything else.

The Tigers started the bottom of the fifth with a walk from Neal followed by a Jared Jones RBI double to bring the score to 4-0. Travinski singled to advance the runner to third before a Josh Pearson fly ball let him tag up and come home. Braswell and Kling both struck out to head to the sixth inning.

Hellmers forced a three up, three down inning in the top of the sixth. Jake Brown reached base with a leadoff single in the bottom of the sixth before a two-run homer from Mac Bingham brought the score to 7-0. Three groundouts from the Tigers brought the frame to a close.

“Will Hellmers, if you’re paying attention that’s a couple pretty good outings in a row and I’m really proud of him for that,” Johnson said.

Cam Johnson came in for Hellers needing one out to end the seventh inning. Johnson continued to struggle with finding the strike zone and walked the first batter he faced. It was the eighth batter he had walked in just 2.1 innings pitched this season. He forced a groundout in the next at bat to head to the bottom of the inning.

LSU went three up, three down in the bottom of the seventh. Johnson recorded a strikeout in the top of the eighth before being pulled for Aidan Moffett. Moffett forced a couple fly outs to head to the bottom of the inning.

“Cam getting two guys out there was awesome,” Johnson said. “Coming back from the 3-0 count and striking their best player out. I thought that was great to see coming from the walk to the first hitter and getting a groundball to finish the inning. Awesome to see it. Really good day for the now and the future of what we’re trying to do here.”

LSU got two runners on base thanks to a Brown walk and Bingham being hit by a pitch. White flied out and Alex Milazzo grounded into a double play to send the game to the final frame.

Moffett gave up a single to start the ninth. A flyout and a strikeout sent NDSU down to its last out before a walk put two runners on. Another walk loaded the bases before a groundout ended the game and gave LSU a 7-0 win.

“Highlight of the day for me was Aidan there at the end,” Johnson said. “I know it’s in there but you got to earn it. He’s done a good job every time he’s taken the mound so far. It’d been a couple weeks since he pitched and I’m really proud of him.”

Up next LSU has a three-game series with Mississippi State. Game one will be on March 15 at 6 p.m. from Dudy Noble Field.

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