TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — LSU’s Friday night formula worked for the sixth consecutive week.
Hand the ball to Aaron Nola to start the game and get yourself a leg up in a Southeastern Conference series.
Nola (7-0) threw his second consecutive complete game as the Tigers won the series opener for the sixth time in as many SEC series, defeating Alabama 5-0 on Friday night in Sewell-Thomas Stadium. It was the fifth time Nola got the win in those six games.
LSU, ranked No. 2 by Collegiate Baseball, improved to 36-3 and 14-2 in the SEC. The Crimson Tide are 23-17 and 8-0. Game 2 of the series will be at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Tigers, who had a season-low three hits in a 4-0 victory against Grambling on Wednesday, had 11 hits, led by Raph Rhymes, who had a single, double, triple and three runs batted in.
Nola gave up a one-out single in the first, but after a fielder’s-choice grounder, he picked Ben Moore off of first to end the inning.
He retired the side in order in the second, striking out two, and struck out two more in the third, allowing just a one-out walk.
After a 1-2-3 fourth, Nola gave up a single to Kyle Overstreet and hit Mikey White, but got out of it when Andrew Miller hit into a double play.
Nola gave up a leadoff single to Chance Vincent in the sixth, then got the next three batters, striking out two. He struck out two more as he got the Tide in order in the seventh. He got them in order again in the eighth, striking out one.
In the ninth, Nola started by getting his 10th strikeout against Kenny Roberts and got the next two to finish with 12 consecutive outs.
LSU grabbed a quick lead against Bama starter Charley Sullivan (3-4) in the first inning. Mark Laird and Alex Bregman had back-to-back one-out singles and Rhymes followed with a two-run triple to right-center.
The Tigers squandered a scoring opportunity in the second. Ty Ross led off with a single and one out later, Sean McMullen singled him to second, where Ross got picked off. Laird walked and the threat died when Bregman hit a line drive to left fielder Ben Moore.
LSU added a run in the third despite a double play. Rhymes led off with a double and Mason Katz followed by walking on four pitches for the second consecutive at bat. Katz moved to second as Christian Ibarra hit into a double play at third, and Chris Sciambra singled home Katz.
The Tigers increased the lead to 5-0 in the seventh. Casey Yocom, starting at second base in place of JaCoby Jones, who stayed at the hotel because of a stomach illness, led off with a walk.
Left-hander Taylor Guilbeau from Zachary relieved and gave up a single to McMullen and a sacrifice fly to Laird. After a balk and a Bregman single, Rhymes singled home McMullen.