Playing before the third largest crowd in Razorback history, Arkansas took over first place in the Western Division standings, thanks to Alabama's pair of losses to Tennessee in a league doubleheader Saturday afternoon. Thanks to Friday night's series-opening 6-5 victory, the Razorbacks did clinch the weekend series with their second triumph. Arkansas has now taken five straight games and three straight series from MSU.
The Razorbacks built an early 6-0 lead, thanks in part to five runs in the home half of the third inning. Offensively, the Bulldogs did try to rally. However, UA reliever Barrett Astin proved too much to overcome. While picking up the win, Astin (4-1) got all 10 outs via strikeout in his 3.1 innings of work.
Arkansas grabbed a 1-0 lead with a single score in the second inning. James McCann began things with a one-out double. McCann swiped third on a steal before a strikeout gave MSU two outs. Jarrod McKinney lined an RBI-single, scoring McCann with the game's first run.
An inning later, Arkansas blew open the contest with five scores on five base hits.
The Razorbacks quickly loaded the bases with consecutive singles by Bo Bingham, Matt Reynolds and Collin Kuhn off MSU starter Nick Routt (0-2). Kyle Robinson hit a sacrifice-fly, bringing home Bingham. Dominic Ficociello followed with an RBI-single, scoring Reynolds. Designated hitter Jake Wise then delivered the big blow with a three-run home run – his first of the season – to left center.
Routt worked three innings, allowing eight hits and six runs (all earned), with three strikeouts and no walks. Tim Statz (2.1 innings) and Devin Jones (2.2 innings) combined to throw five innings of shutout relief out of the Bulldog bullpen.
Offensively, MSU broke up the shutout with a single score in the fifth inning. Taylor Stark began the threat with a one-out double. Brent Brownlee followed with an RBI-single. A follow-up hit by C.T. Bradford chased UA starter Randall Fant.
In 4.1 innings of work, Fant allowed five hits and one run (earned), with two strikeouts and a walk. In relief, Astin got both outs needed to escape that jam. Astin worked around additional threats in the sixth inning (singles by Wes Thigpen and Nick Vickerson) and seventh inning (single by Bradford and walk to Jarrod Parks).
For the contest, the Bulldogs stranded 11 base runners.
MSU finished with nine hits, including Bradford's fourth three-hit game of the season. Thigpen also had multiple hits.
Arkansas finished with 11 hits, including multi-hit games for Bingham, Ficociello and McKinney.
The series finale is at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. Cox Sports will have the regional telecast. MSU then remains on the road for the Tuesday night Governor's Cup matchup with in-state rival Ole Miss. That 6:30 p.m. contest will be televised regionally by Comcast Sports Southeast from Trustmark Park in Pearl.