Solid Play On Crummy Day

FAYETTEVILLE -- Playing in not the most idea conditions, one couldn't ask a team to perform better than Mississippi State did Saturday afternoon in Baum Stadium.

Because they did, the No. 24 Bulldogs were able to wash away No. 8 Arkansas 13-4 on an uncomfortably cold, rainy, sloppy day in front of 3,018 fans.

Mississippi State could do no wrong on a day where only a polar bear or duck wearing Bermuda shorts could feel comfortable enough to enjoy a day at the ballpark.

Strange, because one would think a pig in mud would have had the advantage, especially in its home trough.

"We were lucky to get this one in," said MSU coach Ron Polk. "It was cold and miserable out there today." Clearly, the Bulldogs (17-3 overall, 4-1 in the Southeastern Conference) didn't seem to mind rain dripping off their hats and mud caked on their uniforms.

Maybe because they sewed up the three-game series with their second-straight win. MSU won 5-3 on a cold Friday night in the opener.

On Saturday, Mississippi State banged out 14 hits and clubbed two home runs -- it was the Bulldogs' first multiple-homer game of the season -- en route to this SEC laugher.

It was just a sequel to a continuing scenario. MSU has won 12 of the last 15 meetings between the two teams.

What gives?

"I'm not really sure, we've always played well against them," said MSU second baseman Jeffrey Rea, who was 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs on Saturday. "We are just coming together as a team right now, you know. We got some big hits with two outs and everyone is relying on each other to get the job done.

"Everything is just clicking right now.

"I hope we don't run out of hits tomorrow (today). We'd would love to get the sweep here against an awesome team and a great place to play." It was a good place to play for Bulldogs first baseman Brad Jones on Saturday, who went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs, including a solo homer.

"Well, I've been struggling recently so it was good to make good contact today," Jones said. "I luckily got one up in the air and the wind was blowing a little bit my way and it worked out."

Like it always seems to happen against the Razorbacks.

Brad, any theories?

"We just play good against them," Jones said. "I can't really explain it. We just came here focused. We know they are one of the top teams in the nation but that doesn't seem to faze us at all.

"You know, they are a good team and we aren't trying to take anything away from them but we are just seeing the ball good right now and just playing good on defense and pitching good.

"Things are just falling in place right now."

Hogs coach Dave Van Horn said there were other reasons.

"They took advantage of anything we gave them," Van Horn said. "Just little things all added up. They have good players, good hitters and they took advantage of all of our mistakes."

Polk agreed.

"We did," Polk said. "Basically, for the most part we scored enough runs. We played good defense. You know, this was a tough day to play defense because every ground ball hit was wet and I'm surprised there wasn't more errors by the kids on both teams.

"Anytime you are on the road and playing in front of a good crowd, I know we didn't have a big one today because of the weather. You know, you like to play in comfortable weather. It's not easy to be a visiting team, playing when it's cold and rainy.

"So, I'm real proud of our kids for battling through that and basically winning two games.

"Tomorrow (today), will be another day and I'm sure the Arkansas Razorbacks will be ready to come out and play hard like they have the last two days."


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