No. 17 MSU Defeats No. 5 Arkansas, 13-4

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark - Jeffrey Rea singled in a pair of runs during a five-run burst in the second inning Saturday afternoon as No. 17 Mississippi State (17-3, 4-1 SEC) pounded out a 13-4 win over fifth-ranked Arkansas (20-4, 2-3 SEC) at drizzly Baum Stadium/Cole Field. The win clinched the seventh series against Arkansas in the last eight seasons for Mississippi State and gives the Bulldogs 12 wins in the last 15 meetings with the Razorbacks dating back to 2000.

The series concludes with a 1:05 p.m. game on Easter Sunday in Fayetteville.

Rea went 3-for-5 and drove in five runs for the Bulldogs, who got a solid pitching performance from senior righthander Todd Doolittle. The Meridian, Miss., product allowed just one earned run, scattered five hits and struck out five over a career-high matching 8.0 innings.

"Alan did a good job pitching in tough conditions and against one of the top teams in the SEC," said Bulldog head coach Ron Polk. "We were able to get some clutch hits and put together a couple of big innings."

The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Jeff Butts drew a one-out walk from Arkansas starter Shawn Seibert (3-1), advanced on a single by Joseph Hunter and scored the first of 13 MSU runs on Brad Jones' two-out single to center field. The run-scoring hit by Hunter extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games.

Arkansas threatened in the bottom of the first when Doolittle issued back-to-back one-out walks to Scott Bridges and Casey Rowlett. But freshman catcher Ed Easley picked off one runner at first base and Doolittle retired UA's Jake Dugger on an infield grounder to end the threat. Doolittle walked the first two batters he faced the next inning but got out of the jam with the first of two double plays turned by the Bulldog infield.

That was as close as Arkansas got to pulling even in the game, as the Bulldogs erupted in the second for five runs on three hits, helped along by a walk and a pair of Arkansas errors. The first six batters reached base as nine Bulldogs went to the plate in the inning, forcing Seibert from the game.

A Bulldog throwing error and a single by Bridges in the third inning plated Arkansas' first run and cut the MSU lead to 5-1. James Gilbert, who replaced Seibert on the mound in the second, was touched for four runs in the fifth. First baseman Brad Jones cracked his second home run of the season to open the frame as the Bulldogs batted through the order a second time.

State picked up two more runs to lead 12-1 in the seventh on Brad Corley's second home run of the season and closed out the scoring with a single run in the eighth.

Clay Goodwin opened Arkansas' seventh with his third home run of the season, and the Razorbacks added two more runs (one earned) in the ninth off MSU relief pitcher Brooks Dunn.

Rea paced MSU's 14-hit attack with three hits while Corley had two hits and drove in three runs and Jones drove in a pair of runs with two hits. Eight of MSU's nine starters and two reserve players had hits.

The win clinched MSU's second straight SEC weekend series and State's fourth in its last five trips to Fayetteville. Mississippi State registered its first series sweep in Fayetteville in 2003, a feat the Bulldogs could match with a win in Sunday's series finale. Sophomore righthander Jon Crosby (3-0, 1.76) is due to start for the Bulldogs.


MSU (17-3, 4-1 SEC) 150 040 210 --- 13-14-2
ARK (20-4, 2-3 SEC) 001 000 102 --- 4- 7-4

WP - Todd Doolittle (3-1). LP - Shaun Seibert (3-1). HR - Brad Corley (2), Brad Jones (2), Clay Goodwin (3). T - 2:53. ATT - 3,018 (6,603 paid).

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