LSU right-hander Paul Skenes threw another gem with 12 strikeouts, and first baseman Jared Jones launched two home runs Friday to propel the top-ranked Tigers to an 11-1 run-rule victory against Samford at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
The Tigers (13-1), which have won eight straight, return to action Saturday for the second game of the three-game set with Samford (6-7). The contest is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch and can be viewed on SEC Network+. The matchup can also be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates.
Skenes (4-0) threw his fourth consecutive game with double-digit strikeouts and finished with six innings pitched with one run and two hits allowed.
“As long as we support Paul on defense, he’s going to hold it together,” LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson said. “He throws three pitches for strikes, a fastball over 100 miles per hour, and he has great poise, competitiveness and character. I wish we could keep him here forever. The best part about Paul is that he won’t rest on tonight; he’ll be here early tomorrow, get his work in and get ready for his next start.”
Bulldog starter Jacob Cravey (1-2) was charged with the loss after tossing 5.0 innings and allowing five runs on four hits.
Jones went 3-for-4 and picked up four RBIs with two home runs and a single.
“It was super impressive, I’m very proud of Jared,” Johnson said. “He worked hard this week, made a small tweak in his swing, and focused on slowing the game down mentally. He’s been impressive so far, and I’m really glad he’s here. He’s a great player and a great kid as well.”
LSU opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with the help of a throwing error from Samford’s second baseman Garrett Staton. Following two free passes, designated hitter Tommy White hit toward shortstop and the Bulldogs got one out but could not convert on the other end. The Tigers led 1-0 after one inning.
After a scoreless second inning from both squads, Samford responded with a run in the third.
LSU manufactured a run in the bottom half of the third with a sequence that started with a single from centerfielder Dylan Crews and a walk from White. With two runners on second and third after a wild pitch, shortstop Jordan Thompson hit a sacrifice fly to center, which scored Crews.
The Tigers added another sacrifice fly in the fourth with right fielder Paxton Kling scoring from third on a fly ball to center from second baseman Jack Merrifield.
Jones crushed a ball to right field for his third homer of the year, extending LSU’s lead to 5-1.
LSU tacked onto its lead in the sixth, increasing it to 8-1. Kling led off with a single to left field and promptly stole second. Left fielder Tre’ Morgan smoked an RBI-single up the middle to score Kling. With Morgan on first, Crews singled and White doubled in the right-center field gap scoring Morgan and Crews.
After catcher Brady Neal drew a walk, White tagged from second and reached third on a fly ball to center. Centerfielder Josh Rodriguez’s throw went past the third baseman and into the dugout, allowing White to scratch across LSU’s ninth run.
Jones punctuated the inning with a towering home run to left field that went 459 feet. His final two RBI accounted for the final margin in the Tigers’ win.