LSU beats Mississippi State to clinch its 19th SEC West title
STARKVILLE — When the calendar turned to April, LSU was muddling through the early part of its Southeastern Conference schedule. By mid-May, the Tigers are right where they so often are — in first place.
Michael Papierski went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored, and Nick Coomes drove in three runs as LSU outslugged Mississippi State 11-5 Friday night to beat the Bulldogs for the second straight night.
LSU (38-17, 20-9 SEC) clinched its 19th SEC West Division title with its fifth series win in the last six weekends. Overall, LSU is 19-6 since losing to Arkansas on April 7 to fall to .500 in SEC play. The Tigers have won seven SEC games in a row.
Mississippi State, meanwhile, is reeling heading into next week’s SEC Tournament.
The Bulldogs (34-21, 17-12) lost for the fourth time in five games, and have fallen out of the top four in the SEC standings heading into the last day of the regular season.
Mississippi State needs to beat LSU on Saturday, and have Arkansas (38-15, 17-11) lose to Texas A&M (36-19, 16-13), to finish fourth overall and get one of the four first-round byes.
Texas A&M beat Arkansas 5-2 on Friday.
LSU, Florida and Kentucky have clinched three of the top four seeds.
Mississippi State’s pitchers walked 11 batters Friday, hit two more, and fell behind early.
Coomes hit a two-run double in the first inning as LSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead. After Mississippi State tied it at 4 in the fifth inning, the Tigers scored four runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh to take the lead for good.
Papierski’s home run was a solo shot in the seventh inning. Kramer Robertson had three hits and scored three times for the Tigers.
“It was a rough start,” Mississippi State coach Andy Cannizaro said. “They started scoring runs early and didn’t do a lot to score those runs. We battled in the middle innings and got things tied back up. In the sixth inning, we quit throwing pitches over the plate. You can’t beat a team like LSU when you give them that many walks.”