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Baton Rouge, Louisiana

LSU's Cooper delivers brilliant effort to down Broncos

372 days ago
LSU Athletics
Photo: LSU Athletics

BATON ROUGE, La. - Junior left-hander Riley Cooper recorded 5.1 hitless innings Saturday in his second career LSU start, as the top-ranked Tigers posted a 5-3 win over Western Michigan in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

LSU improved to 2-0 on the year, while Western Michigan dropped to 0-2.

The teams conclude the series at 12:30 pm. CT Sunday in a game that will be broadcast on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network and streamed on SEC Network +.

Cooper (1-0) did not allow a hit in 5.1 scoreless innings, and he logged two walks and seven strikeouts while throwing 71 pitches.

"Riley can throw four pitches for strikes" said LSU coach Jay Johnson, "and when you're a hitter, that's a lot to deal with. I don't think they really took a good swing on him all day, and that's a credit to his location, his movement and his changing speeds."

LSU second baseman Gavin Dugas led off the bottom of the first inning with the Tigers' first homer of the season, and designated hitter Jared Jones later provided an RBI single to increase the lead to 2-0.

"Gavin is a great player when he's healthy," Johnson said, "and it's nice that he's healthy and seeing the ball well. He plays hard, his teammates love him, and it's great to see him at his best."

The Tigers struck for two more runs in the fourth, as rightfielder Paxton Kling smashed a run-scoring triple, and he scored on third baseman Ben Nippolt's groundout to second base.

WMU narrowed the gap to 4-2 in the sixth as third baseman Gavin Doyle delivered an run-scoring single and first baseman Cade Sullivan contributed an RBI groundout.

LSU left-hander Nate Ackenhausen entered the game in the sixth in relief of Bryce Collins, and he pitched the final 3.1 innings to earn the save. Ackenhausen limited the Broncos to one run on one hit in 3.1 innings with one walk and two strikeouts.

"Nate's performance was not a surprise to us," Johnson said. "He's poised, much like Riley, and he throws every pitch where he wants to. He threw strikes that weren't easy to hit, and I'm really proud of his performance today."

The Tigers added an insurance run in the eighth when leftfielder Brayden Jobert led off the inning with a double, and Josh Stevenson, running for Jobert, later scored on pinch hitter Josh Pearson's RBI groundout.

Sullivan belted a solo homer in the ninth for the Broncos to account for the final margin