COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Freshman right-hander Austin Bain earned his first career conference win Friday night, and top-ranked LSU pounded out 15 hits as the Tigers clinched a share of the SEC Western Division title with a 9-2 win over South Carolina at Carolina Stadium.
LSU improved to 45-9 overall and 20-8 in SEC play, while South Carolina dropped to 32-23 and 13-16. LSU can win both the SEC overall title and the Western Division championship outright if the Tigers defeat South Carolina on Saturday.
The teams conclude the series at 7 p.m. CT Saturday in the final game of the regular season. Saturday's game will be televised by the SEC Network, and it can be heard on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live stats and audio are available in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.
The division title is the 18th in LSU history and the fifth for the Tigers in the nine-season tenure of coach Paul Mainieri.
"I'm very proud of what this team has accomplished over the entire year, and winning the SEC West is a significant achievement," Mainieri said. "But, this is only the beginning, we want more."
Bain (2-2) pitched brilliantly, limiting South Carolina to two runs on four hits in 6.1 innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. South Carolina starter Clarke Schmidt (2-2) was charged with the loss, as he surrendered five runs - four earned - on 10 hits in 5.1 innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
"Bain was tremendous tonight and displayed great poise in what can be an intimidating road environment," Mainieri said. "Offensively, our approach at the plate was outstanding once again, and I thought we rebounded extremely well after a tough loss last night."
LSU has collected 16 runs on 30 hits in the first two games of the series. Catcher Kade Scivicque highlighted Friday's 15-hit attack with a pair of doubles and three RBI. Third baseman Conner Hale had three hits - including an double - and an RBI, and centerfielder Andrew Stevenson was 4-for-5 with a double, two RBI and two runs.
The Gamecocks grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on second baseman Max Schrock's solo home run, his sixth dinger of the season.
LSU tied the game in the top of the second when rightfielder Mark Laird delivered a two-out RBI single.
The Tigers scored a run in the third when Schrock made an errant throw to first on Jared Foster's ground ball, allowing centerfielder Andrew Stevenson to score from second base.
LSU extended the lead to 5-1 in the fifth as catcher Kade Scivicque blasted an RBI double, and Stevenson followed with a two-run double.
Scivicque's two-run double in the seventh gave the Tigers a 7-1 advantage, and LSU added two runs in the eighth as shortstop Alex Bregman scored on a wild pitch, and third baseman Conner Hale added a run-scoring single.
Right-handers Parker Bugg and Russell Reynolds closed the game for LSU, blanking the Gamecocks over the final 2.2 innings.