Arkansas, coached by second-year skipper Dave Van Horn, was picked to finish last in the SEC West in the preseason poll of the league's coaches. But the Razorbacks have won six of eight league series, including sweeps at LSU and at home against Kentucky, and enter the final two weekends of the league race with a two-game divisional lead over LSU and Mississippi and tied for the overall league lead with Florida.
MSU junior righty Alan Johnson (3-3, 6.02) will be matched with Arkansas junior southpaw, Clint Brannon (3-2, 3.63) in Friday's series opener.
Brad Corley, one of three finalists for the inaugural Boo Ferriss Award, leads MSU and ranks ninth in the SEC with a .357 batting average. The Louisville, Ky., native also leads the SEC with 139 total bases.
Arkansas is paced at the plate by Clay Goodwin (.340), while Scott Hode shares the team lead with seven home runs and has driven in a team-high 44 runs.