Dogs Drop Opener to No. 13 Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Mississippi State could not hold the lead as the 13th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks rallied with three runs in the eighth inning for a 6-5 victory over the Bulldogs in a Southeastern Conference baseball game Friday night at Baum Stadium.

With the victory, Arkansas improved to 25-8 overall and 7-6 in league play, while MSU fell to 21-13 and 5-8. The Bulldogs have lost three straight league games and fall to 2-3 on Friday nights in league play. Arkansas extended its win streak to seven games.

In the Arkansas eighth inning, Kyle Robinson hit a game-tying two-run home run with no outs. Dominic Ficociello followed with a single ending the stint of MSU starter Chris Stratton. In relief, Daryl Norris got back-to-back outs before Tim Carver delivered a go-ahead game-winning single.

Stratton (4-4) allowed 10 hits and six runs (all earned), with eight strikeouts and one walk. Norris did complete the eighth inning. However, the Bulldogs failed to rally going 1-2-3 in the ninth inning of play.

The Bulldogs actually built a 5-2 lead by scoring three times in the fourth inning.

Trey Johnson began things by reaching as a hit batsman. After a strikeout, Nick Vickerson and Jaron Shepherd followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases. Wes Thigpen followed with a two-run single, prior to an RBI-single by Adam Frazier. However, the Bulldogs could not score again with runners being stranded at second and third base.

Arkansas began its rally with a Kyle Robinson home run in the home half of the fourth inning. Stratton then held the Razorbacks at bay until the eighth inning uprising.

In the contest, the Razorbacks scored first with a lone run in the first inning. MSU answered with a pair of scores in the second inning.

In the MSU second inning, Johnson and Jonathan Ogden began things with back-to-back singles. A sacrifice-fly by Nick Vickerson scored one run. An RBI-single by Thigpen scored the other.

Arkansas tied the contest with a sacrifice fly by Jarrod McKinney in the home half of the second inning.

The Bulldogs finished with 10 hits, including multi-hit games by Shepherd and Thigpen.

The Razorbacks finished with 11 hits, including three hits by Kyle Robinson and two hits by both Dominic Ficociello and Tim Carver.

Cade Lynch (4-1) earned the win, with 4.2 innings of relief work. Lynch allowed two hits and no runs with six strikeouts and a walk. Brandon Moore started and was lifted during the MSU three-run fourth inning. Nolan Sanburn threw the ninth inning, earning his seventh save.

The series resumes with a 6:35 p.m. start Saturday. MSU is scheduled to start junior left-hander Nick Routt (0-1, 2.35 ERA), while Arkansas is scheduled to start sophomore left-hander Randall Fant (1-2, 3.26 ERA). The series finale starts at 1:05 p.m. Sunday and will be regionally televised by Cox Sports.

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