The Razorback baseball season ended the same way every game did in May - with a loss.
No. 4 Mississippi State rallied from a two-run deficit and then took advantage of a three-run, two-out, fifth-inning error by center fielder Carson Shaddy to win its 11th straight game while downing Arkansas 9-4 Saturday night before 8,241 fans at Dudy Noble Field.
The win gave Mississippi State (40-14-1, 21-9) its first SEC overall title since 1989 and its 11th overall, the Western Division crown, a sweep of the three-game series, its 11th straight win and the top seed in next week’s SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.
The loss meant the Razorbacks (26-29, 7-23) finished the month of May winless, ended the season on a 13-game losing streak and had the SEC’s worst conference record this year.
It was the most consecutive losses in school history dating back to records from 1960 on.
Mississippi State completed a worst-to-first campaign after going just 8-22 in SEC action last season.
Arkansas - which had been eliminated from the 12-team SEC Tournament with its loss on Friday - jumped to a 2-0 lead in the opening inning when Clark Eagan hit a two-run homer that scored Eric Cole, who joined Michael Bernal in both having three of their team’s 13 hits.
Mississippi State cut it to 2-1 in the second off Arkansas starter Blaine Knight when Ryan Gridley’s groundout scored Jacob Robson, who had led off with a single.
The Bulldogs tied the game 2-2 in the fourth after Jack Mangrum took advantage of a dropped foul ball, followed that with a single eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Robson.
Mississippi State, who also had 12 hits and has not lost in 10 May contests, then took the lead 3-2 in the fifth when Jack Kruger singled off reliever Jordan Rodriguez with one out and rode home on Gavin Collins’ double.
It looked like Arkansas was going to get out of the inning with any more damage after the Bulldogs loaded the bases, but Shaddy closed his glove before Reid Humphries’ blast to the warning track in center.
That allowed all three runs to score and pushed Mississippi State’s lead to 6-2.
The Bulldogs then added three more in the seventh when John Holland and Kruger both had run-scoring singles against reliever Zach Jackson to push it to 9-2.
Arkansas added a pair in the eighth and had the bases loaded, but Cole lined out to end the threat.
Knight pitched the first four innings while allowing five hits and two runs, one of which was unearned. He threw 64 pitches, 43 of which were strikes.
Rodriguez (0-1) got two outs in the fifth and was charged with the loss while Doug Willey finished the inning and was the victim of the three unearned runs.
Jackson came in next for Arkansas and went two innings while giving up five hits and three earned runs before Anthony Dahl finished up with a scoreless eighth.