Bulldogs Defeat No. 13 Arkansas, 5-3

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Junior right-hander Caleb Reed sparkled in relief as the Mississippi State baseball team rallied to a 5-3 victory over No. 13 Arkansas in a Southeastern Conference baseball game played Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium.

Reed threw 5.1 innings of scoreless relief as the Bulldogs blew past an early 3-1 deficit. The victory was sweet for a Maroon and White squad, which had dropped a heart-breaking 6-5 decision Friday and also suffered a 6-1 setback on Saturday.

With the win, MSU improved to 22-14 overall and 6-9 in league play at the official midway mark of the conference schedule. While the Bulldogs remain in fifth place in the Western Division standings, the win did mean MSU stays within two games of division leaders Arkansas, Alabama and Ole Miss. Arkansas fell into that tie, while dropping its record to 26-9 and 8-7.

The Bulldogs also snapped a five-game losing streak versus the Razorbacks as well as a five-game skid in this head-to-head series. The Bulldogs are now 7-6 against ranked opponents. Arkansas saw an eight-game win streak snapped with the defeat.

"This was a really big win," said Reed, who earned his sixth save. "The one thing you can say about our team is we always compete. The scouting report on the Arkansas hitters was that they were early swingers. (Pitching) Coach (Butch) Thompson told me to throw strikes and let them make the outs."

Reed did just that. While throwing 60 pitches, Reed only faced 17 batters – allowing one walk and one base hit. The Razorbacks went down in order on just six pitches in their final at-bat. The victory was also saved, thanks in part to two brilliant defensive catches from shortstop Jonathan Ogden and second baseman Sam Frost. Frost's snag turned into a line drive double play.

MSU scored first Sunday afternoon by plating a lone run in the first inning. After UA starter Ryne Stanek got the first two outs, Jarrod Parks drew a walk. Trey Johnson followed with an RBI-double down the right field line.

Arkansas answered quickly, making the day's activity short for Bulldog starter Evan Mitchell. Matt Reynolds and Collin Kuhn started things with back-to-back one-out singles. After a strikeout, Kyle Robinson lined a go-ahead two-run single.

Mitchell was then lifted for Luis Pollorena. Pollorena (4-2) picked up the win, prior to giving way to Reed with two outs in the fourth inning. For the series, the Bulldog bullpen allowed one earned run in 14.1 innings of work.

The Razorbacks stretched the lead to 3-1 with a single score in the second inning. The Bulldogs then responded with a single score in the third inning and took the lead with two scores in the fourth inning. A critical insurance score trotted home in the seventh inning.

In the fourth inning, the Bulldogs took the lead. Wes Thigpen began the inning with a lead-off single. Adam Frazier drew a walk. Ogden followed with a bunt which resulted in a high throw, tying the score 3-3. A sacrifice-fly by Jaron Shepherd placed the Bulldogs on top for good, 4-3.

In the seventh inning, Parks started things with a one-out double. Cody Freeman followed with a hit. Thigpen reached as a hit batsman, loading the bases. A bases-loaded walk to Nick Vickerson forced in Parks with the game's final run.

The Bulldogs finished with seven hits. Parks was the lone multiple hitter.

The Razorbacks finished with eight hits. Dominic Ficociello and Jarrod McKinney each had multiple hits.

Stanek (2-1) lasted three innings and took the loss. Jeff Harvill, Trent Daniel and Nolan Sanburn each threw in relief for the Razorbacks.

MSU remains on the road for a Tuesday night matchup with in-state rival Ole Miss in the fifth playing of the Governor's Cup. Game time is set for 6:36 p.m. from Trustmark Park in Pearl. The game will be shown regionally by Comcast Sports Southeast. Conference play resumes next weekend when defending national champion South Carolina comes to Dudy Noble Field.

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