"Both starting pitchers were outstanding," head coach Andy Cannizaro said. "We have a lot of young guys and I told them this is what playing on Friday nights in this league is all about. We played a clean game. We had a chance. This is what happens in this league. Both pitchers attacked the strike zone.
"We just have to grow up as an offense and I mean that positively. We need to find a way to put the ball in play with two strikes. We have to find a way to win some of these close games. We can play with anybody in the country."
All of the runs in the game came from the home run.
In the first inning, MSU (12-7, 0-1 SEC) built a 1-0 lead on Ryan Gridley's fourth home run of the season. Brent Rooker also had a double in that inning but was stranded at third base.
Arkansas (15-4, 1-0 SEC) answered with a two-run home run from Luke Bonfield in the first inning. Grant Koch hit a solo shot in the sixth inning for the Razorbacks.
Pilkington (2-3) struck out 13 and walked one while facing six batters past the minimum.
Arkansas sophomore right-hander Blaine Knight (2-1) allowed three hits in seven innings of work with 11 strikeouts. Kevin Kopps and Evan Lee combined to work the eighth inning. Cannon Chadwick struck out a pair of in the ninth inning for his first save.
Each team finished with four hits, played errorless ball and stranded three runners. Jake Mangum and Elijah MacNamee had the other hits for the Bulldogs.
Bonfield had two hits for the Razorbacks.
The Bulldogs and Razorbacks will retake the field on Saturday for game two in a nationally-televised tilt at 7 p.m. CT on SEC Network.
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