TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Michael Papierski knocked in the game-winning run in the top of the 11th inning, lifting LSU to a 4-3 victory and a three-game sweep of Alabama.
Papierski was 0 for 4 when he stepped to the plate for his final at-bat. Up 3-0 in the count, he got the green light from coach Paul Mainieri to swing away. Papierski connected for a hard single to right field, scoring Kramer Robertson.
“The first two pitches I was going to bunt, and they were both balls, and I got the swing (sign at) 2-0, and I took it and it was a ball,” Papierski said. “It was 3-0, and he gave me the swing (sign) and I just put a good swing on the ball.”
With one out, runners on first and third and Alabama’s Davis Vainer on the mound, Mainieri felt his best chance at taking the lead was in that moment.
“I thought that kid, Vainer, had one of the best curveballs I’ve ever seen, and I thought the 3-0 pitch might be the only time we saw something straight,” Mainieri said. “We probably had a better chance of driving in the run on a 3-0 pitch as opposed to starting with a fresh count even if the bases were loaded.”
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Greg Deichmann recorded his 15th home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field.
“I was a little late on a fastball earlier in the at-bat, and I saw the curveball pop out of his hand, and I was able to wait back on it and kind of kept it low and cut it through the wind,” Deichmann said. “I am just glad I was able to get us out to an early lead and provide a little bit of cushion.”
Alabama answered in the bottom of the first with a pair of runs to tie score, thanks to an RBI double by Cody Henry and a sacrifice fly by Chandler Taylor.
The Crimson Tide took the lead in the fourth inning, 3-2, and LSU responded in the sixth inning, tying the score at 3 with an RBI single by Jordan Romero. The next four innings were scoreless.
Hunter Newman (1-1) picked up the win in two innings. He struck out two batters, walked one and gave up one hit. Vainer (0-3) recorded the loss in 3.1 innings. He struck out five batters, walked four and gave up three hits.
LSU finished with eight hits — each from a different player. Alabama’s Hunter Alexander, Alex Webb, Kyle Kaufman and Henry each had two hits.
It was the Tigers' first sweep in Southeastern Conference play since they took three straight against Georgia in March.
The Tigers defeated Alabama 8-2 in Thursday's series opener and followed with a 7-4 win in Friday's middle game.
“For us to win a game on the road is an accomplishment, to win the series is a greater accomplishment, and then to sweep a series is really amazing,” Mainieri said.
LSU (30-15, 13-8), which doesn't have a midweek game, hosts South Carolina on Friday.