BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU starting left handed pitcher John Valek allowed just one hit through the first six innings and the 5th-ranked Tigers scored eight runs over that time en route to an 11-1 win in the rubber match of a three-game series with Sacramento State on Sunday.
Despite the loss Sacramento State (4-3) concluded its challenging season-opening road trip to the southeast with a winning record. Three of the four wins came against SEC teams, with the Hornets taking 2-of-3 games at Auburn and upending #5 LSU, 5-4, on Saturday.
After Sacramento State held LSU scoreless over the last six innings of Saturday comeback win, Hornet junior starter Max Karnos put up zeros in the first two innings on Sunday. The Tigers got to Karnos with a big third inning, batting around and scoring five times on four hits, a walk, and a Hornet fielding error with the big blow a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double from Beau Jordan.
LSU (5-2) added a single run in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth. Sacramento State got on the board in the seventh inning as junior Blake Edmonson led off with a double off the left field wall and scored on an RBI single from freshman Matt Smith. The single extended Smith's hitting streak to open his collegiate career to seven games and gave him an RBI in six of his first seven games as a Hornet.
The Hornets retired the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh before the Tigers scored three more times with two runs coming in on wild pitches and the third on a throwing error. Sacramento State was set down in order in the eighth and senior Chris Lewis was left aboard in the ninth following a one-out double.
Lewis also had a single in the seventh inning and sophomore Vinny Esposito had the Hornets first hit with a single in the fifth. LSU had 14 hits and did well with men aboard, going 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position and 8-for-20 overall with runners on base.
Valek allowed one run with no walks and six strikeouts over seven innings for the win while Karnos went four innings and was charged with the loss. Three LSU pitchers did not issue a single walk in the game.
Sacramento State plays its first home games of the season next weekend with a four-game series hosting South Dakota State. Opening day at John Smith Field will be Friday at 2 p.m. before a double-header starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday and a final game at noon next Sunday.