BATON ROUGE – Behind another strong performance by senior Jared Poche’ and a combined 17 hits from the Tiger hitters, No. 6 LSU (11-4) defeated Wichita State, 12-5, Saturday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
Poche’ improved to 4-0 after firing off seven shutout innings and striking out three. The Lutcher native has not allowed a run in 29 innings for the second-best streak in school history. LSU’s longest scoreless innings streak was established by Ben McDonald in 1989, when he threw 44.2 consecutive scoreless frames.
In five appearances at the plate, freshman Zach Watson was 3-for-4 with four RBI. Watson also hit his first career home run, a three-run blast in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Wichita State dropped to 8-5 with Saturday’s loss. The final game of the series against the Shockers will be at 2 p.m. CT Sunday. The game will be available online through the SEC Network+ and can be accessed through the WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app.
The game will also be broadcast live on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network, including 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Fans can go to LSUsports.net for live stats and audio.
“I honestly thought Jared didn’t have his good stuff and was laboring through the early part of the game,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “He actually got stronger and threw better in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Those were probably his best innings of the game. I’m so proud of Jared – he’s such a fierce competitor, such a great teammate, everybody on the team loves him to death, and it couldn’t happen to a better kid.”
The Tigers strung together three hits in a row to begin the bottom of the third to load the bases. With one out, freshman Jake Slaughter flied out to deep left-center field for an RBI sac fly. Watson then followed with his first career RBI on a hard single past the third baseman to push the lead to 2-0.
It was once again Slaughter and Watson who added four runs for the Tigers in the fifth. With runners on second and third and the infield in, Slaughter knocked a single through the right side to score Cole Freeman. Watson followed with his first career home run, a three-run bomb 411 feet to left field to make it a 6-0 game.
In the first pitch of the bottom of the sixth inning, Michael Papierski hit his second home run of the season. After a double by Kramer Robertson, Freeman singled to left field to plate another run and give LSU an 8-0 lead.
In the four-run sixth inning, Greg Deichmann also tacked on his seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field, to make it 10-0.
Robertson added the 11th run of the game in the bottom of the seventh on a single to center field. Beau Jordan plated Robertson with an RBI single to right field for run No. 12.
“This may have been our best day as far as balance throughout the lineup is concerned,” Mainieri said. “It was a great day for us offensively; we had a tremendous approach at the plate. I was so happy to see the balance throughout the lineup that we showed today as opposed to counting on our top four hitters.
The Shockers put up five runs in the ninth inning. WSU plated two runs on a pair of bases-loaded walks issued by reliever Hunter Kiel. A two-RBI double by Noah Croft and RBI groundout by Sam Goodwin pushed the shockers to five runs for the game.
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