SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri State scored eight runs in the fifth inning en route to a 14-6 win over Arkansas Tuesday at Hammons Field.
It snaps the Bears’ five-game losing streak and extends the Razorbacks’ losing streak to three games. It also avenged Missouri State's loss in last year's super regional, which sent Arkansas to the College World Series.
"Yeah, they wanted to beat us," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "It looked like they wanted to win a little more than we did and that was one thing that disappointed me."
After retiring the first six batters he faced, Arkansas starter Weston Rogers gave up three runs in the third inning. Alex Jefferson’s RBI single put the Bears on the board and Jake Burger added a two-run triple.
Blake Graham hit a solo home run off James Teague in the fourth and then Missouri State (29-14) blew it open in the fifth.
The first six Bears in the inning reached base, including the first four via hits against Josh Alberius. Hunter Steinmetz and Jefferson had back-to-back RBI triples and Burger hit a two-run home run.
Before the Razorbacks (26-19) recorded the final out, they used three pitchers and the Bears sent 13 batters to the plate, extending their lead to 12-0.
"It was tough to watch that," Van Horn said. "We're pitching some guys we don't use much on the weekends and trying to give them an opportunity and it didn't go real well. Then we went with some guys to give us an inning here or there, and it didn't go very well for them, either."
Burger went 3-for-5 for the Missouri State, finishing a double shy of the cycle. He had a game-high four RBIs and hit his NCAA-leading 19th home run.
"Burger's one of the best hitters in the country," Van Horn said. "He's going to be a high draft choice and first-team All-American type guy.
"He's just an outstanding right-hander hitter. He really stays with the ball and doesn't get fooled much. He's extremely strong."
Arkansas’ pitching woes extended beyond the fifth inning, though. Eight pitchers combined to walk eight batters – including two with the bases loaded – and hit two with pitches. They also had two wild pitches.
All but one of the runs were earned, inflating the Razorbacks' team ERA to 4.81. That would be their worst in a season since 2008, when they posted a 4.92 ERA before bat modifications were made to reduce offensive production across the country.
"You can't sugarcoat it," Van Horn said. "It's not real pretty what we're seeing come out of that bullpen right now."
Missouri State starter Austin Knight held Arkansas in check until the sixth, when Carson Shaddy led off with a home run that hit near the top of the left-field foul pole.
It ended up being a five-run inning for the Razorbacks, as Grant Koch had a two-run single and Eric Cole had a two-run triple.
"Hats off to some of those hitters for not shutting it down," Van Horn said. "They just kept battling and put together some good at-bats, fouled off a lot of pitches and worked some counts."
Arkansas added a run in the ninth when Shaddy grounded into a double play, allowing Eric Cole to score from third.
Shaddy’s home run moved him into a three-way tie for the team lead, with eight. It was his third in four games.
Arkansas begins a three-game series at No. 15 LSU on Friday.