Arkansas knew its first opponent in the SEC Tournament would be a Bulldogs team it swept during the regular season. Now the Razorbacks know specifically which team that is.
Behind a strong start by Konnor Pilkington, Mississippi State beat Georgia 3-0 in an elimination game Wednesday morning. The Bulldogs from Starkville, Miss., advance to the double-elimination portion of the tournament and will play Arkansas at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
It is a rematch from the first weekend of SEC play, when the Razorbacks swept a three-game series at Baum Stadium. Arkansas outscored Mississippi State 14-6 in the sweep.
In the Bulldogs' win over Georgia, which was scheduled to be Tuesday night but got pushed back because of weather in Hoover, Ala., Pilkington pitched into the ninth inning and Mississippi State used only one reliever, preserving a depleted bullpen.
SEC Player of the Year Brent Rooker went 3 for 5 with a home run and two RBIs in the win, as well. The conference's leader in all three Triple Crown categories - batting average (.419), home runs (21) and RBIs (75) - Rooker went 5 for 9 with a double, home run and three RBIs against Arkansas earlier this season.
The Razorbacks will start junior right-hander Trevor Stephan (5-3, 3.24 ERA), who struck out eight in a 6 1/3 innings against Mississippi State on March 18.
The loser of the Arkansas-Mississippi State game will play an elimination game at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, while the winner won't play again until Friday.
SEC Network will televise every game in the SEC Tournament except for the championship game, which will be on ESPN2.