BATON ROUGE, La. - Catcher Michael Papierski had the first three-hit game of his career and drove in three runs Sunday afternoon, and left-hander John Valek III limited Ball State to one run in five innings pitched as LSU posted a series-clinching 10-6 win at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 12-3 on the year, while Ball State fell to 8-9.
The Tigers will return to action Wednesday against New Orleans at 6:30 p.m. CT in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The game will be available online only via SEC Network+ and can be accessed at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app. It will also be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network. Fans can also go to LSUsports.net for live stats and audio through the GeauxZone.
Valek III earned his fourth win in four starts for the Tigers after only allowing one run on eight hits and striking out two in five innings pitched.
Ball State right-hander Colin Brockhouse (1-2) suffered the loss after tossing 2.2 innings and surrendering four runs-three earned-on five hits, walking one and striking out one.
"I've known (Ball State coach) Rich Maloney a long time, and I consider him a good friend, but I'm glad his team is leaving town today," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "They have a tough, veteran ball club, and they competed at a high level throughout the weekend. I'm very proud of our players for not hanging their heads and bouncing back after the loss on Friday night to win this series against a very good team."
LSU took the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first after left fielder Beau Jordan legged out an infield single to score shortstop Kramer Robertson, who reached on an error, from third base.
In the top of the third, Ball State right fielder Alex Call ripped a two-out double down the left field line and scored on a single by first baseman Caleb Stayton to knot the score at 1-1.
The Tigers answered in the bottom of the third inning with three runs to give LSU the 4-1 lead. With one out and runners on the corners for right fielder Antoine Duplantis, the freshman placed a single into left field to score Robertson from third. After a base hit by Beau Jordan loaded the bases, designated hitter Bryce Jordan lifted a sacrifice fly to centerfield to plate centerfielder Jake Fraley from third. Papierksi followed in the next at-bat with a single through the right side to score Duplantis from second.
LSU added to its lead in the fourth inning after Robertson doubled to left center to score third baseman Chris Reid from third. Robertson scored on a single to right field by Fraley in the next at-bat. With two outs and the bases loaded, Papierski singled to right field, which scored Robertson from third and Fraley from second as the Tigers took an 8-1 lead over the Cardinals.
"I thought Papierski's two-run single was the key at-bat of the game," Mainieri said. "It didn't seem like it at the time because of the scored, but I knew this Ball State team wasn't going to give up and we couldn't relax. Our fans saw evidence again today of why Michael Papierski was such a highly sought-after player. He is a tremendous catcher, and he had a great day swinging the bat to lead us to the win."
Ball State plated two runs in the sixth to make it 8-3 in favor of LSU after a double by centerfielder Matt Eppers sent a double to right field, scoring designated hitter Zach Pleasac and third baseman CJ Alexander.
In the bottom of the sixth, Papierski notched his first three-hit game of his career after hitting a single up the middle. With a runner on first, first baseman Greg Deichmann sent a home run over the right-centerfield wall to make it 10-3 LSU.
The Cardinals scored three runs on three hits in the top of the seventh to narrow the LSU lead after Plesac singled in Stayton with the bases loaded, and a sacrifice fly by Alexander and a double by Eppers put Ball State within four runs.