Pitcher Paul Skenes was the first player selected in last year’s MLB Draft. After beginning the 2024 season in the minors pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate, he recently got the call to join the big league club.

Skenes earned a spot with the Pirates after he put together a string of strong performances at the minor league level. 

The 21-year-old’s solid pitching continued during his MLB debut. He struck out seven Chicago Cubs batters in four innings Saturday.

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Paul Skenes in MLB debut

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Paul Skenes delivers a pitch in his big league debut against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at PNC Park.  (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

Skenes, who has been dating gymnast Olivia Dunne, credits the LSU gymnastics star for supporting him amid the pressure he faced leading up to his long-awaited debut on an MLB mound.

OLIVIA DUNNE REVEALS HOW SHE AND BOYFRIEND PAUL SKENES FOUND OUT ABOUT PIRATES CALL-UP

“It’s been great. She’s helped me in a lot of ways in terms of managing all the hype, I guess, if you will, and how to manage everything that goes around being a pro athlete because she’s kinda lived it. So, it’s been great,” Skenes said Friday.

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Skenes also attended LSU and was named the Most Outstanding Player after the Tigers won the College World Series in 2023.

Livvy Dunne at Pirates game

LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne, middle, waves to fans before boyfriend Paul Skenes of the Pittsburgh Pirates (not pictured) is introduced in his big league debut against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.  (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

Dunne has also starred in her sport, earning SEC Gymnast of the Week honors earlier this season. Last month, Dunne watched her teammates win the all-around national championship for the first time in school history.

Liv Dunne posing with trophy

LSU’s Olivia Dunne poses for a photo holding the trophy following the team’s win in the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships in Fort Worth, Texas, April 20, 2024.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Dunne has a considerable following on multiple social media platforms, and she acts as a brand ambassador for several companies. She has an estimated name, image and likeness (NIL) value of $3.7 million, according to data complied by On3.

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Weather forced Cubs and Pirates players to exit the field at the top of the fifth inning. The game was tied at six at the time of the rain delay.

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