Baseball vs. Alabama

LSU baseball junior pitcher Paul Skenes (20) pitches on Friday, April 28, 2023, during LSU’s 8-6 win over Alabama at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

It was a night of dominance on both sides for the Tigers Friday night in their 12-1 win over Mississippi State in seven innings.

Paul Skenes controlled the game on the mound, finishing with 13 strikeouts in seven innings pitched, giving up just three hits. The offense complemented him with 12 scored runs on 14 total hits.

Skenes has been LSU’s answer to pitching all season. Friday night was only a confidence booster for both him and the team as they get closer to the postseason. 

“Felt good, I think the humidity helped, and the big crowd,” Skenes said. “But I don’t think I felt a ton better in the first couple innings than I have in the first couple innings of every other start this year.”

In Friday’s performance, he struck out 13 of his 25 faced batters, including striking out his first six hitters faced. He did not allow a hit through his first four innings.

“The first two [innings], you can’t dominate a game more than that,” Jay Johnson said. “I thought he was exceptional.”

Mississippi State was kept off the scoreboard until the sixth inning when Ross Highfill hit a solo home run to right field to give the Bulldogs their first run of the game. 

Skenes could be as dominant as they come, but he can’t put up runs on the mound. Luckily, the offense shined just as bright as he did. 

Gavin Dugas, Brayden Jobert, Jordan Thompson, and Tommy all hit home runs. Dugas finished the night going four for four with a home run, which came on the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning, a triple, and two singles. 

“Just trying to see balls in the zone,” Dugas said. “Try not to chase and just try to get my pitch and put a good swing on it.”

Jobert finished two for four with a home run and a single. 

Tommy White and Alex Milazzo both also had multi-hit games. White went three for five with a home run, a double and a single, and Milazzo went two for four with two singles.

But Mississippi State brought Brock Tapper in to pitch after the second inning, and he contained LSU’s offense, holding them to three straight scoreless innings. That was up until the sixth inning when LSU loaded the bases and scored a run off a walk by Dylan Crews. 

After that, the Tigers continued to flash the bats and score runs, following Mississippi State’s lone run in the sixth inning with seven unanswered runs.

The common concern amongst LSU baseball fans has been the pitching strength when Paul Skenes isn’t on the mound. 

But Friday night, the Tigers didn’t have to worry about the bullpen, as Tommy White hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to put a run-rule in affect.

Overall, it was a win in which all aspects of the game were well executed by the Tigers. In their second to last conference series before the SEC tournament, seeing more of these types of wins is what Jay Johnson and his staff hope to see.

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