The Bulldogs used a pair of big innings to do most of their damage against the Razorbacks (18-12, 4-6). After taking a 1-0 lead in the first on a solo home run by Brinson, the Bulldogs batted through the order during a seven-run, five-hit second inning burst that chased UA starter Gary Hogan (3-3) from the game. Matthew Maniscalco doubled in one run and after a pair walks loaded the bases Burkley belted a career-first grand slam that staked Bulldog starter Paul Maholm (7-1) to an 8-0 lead.
"The bases were loaded and I was really looking for a good pitch to hit hard somewhere," said Burkley. "I wasn't thinking about hitting a grand slam, that's for sure. He left a slider out over the plate and I got the barrel on it and it went out the park."
Arkansas got to Maholm for a pair of runs in the fourth on a massive two-run home run by Ryan Fox and made it an 8-3 game in the fifth on Scott Hode's two-out double.
"I don't think I pitched as well as I can," said Maholm. "I kind of got away from some stuff (that I was doing) and gave up a lot of hard hit balls."
But State answered with another big inning, sending 12 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs on seven hits. Jon Mungle opened the frame with a solo home run, his sixth blast of the year, and both Chad Henry and Brinson delivered two-RBI hits.
"It doesn't get much better than that, putting big-run innings together," said Burkley. "It really put the momentum on our side. It is really tough for an opposing team to bounce back from big-run innings like we had today."
Brinson drove in four runs with four hits and a bases-loaded walk and Burkley set a career-high with four RBI on his grand slam. Maniscalco and Michael Brown enjoyed three-hit plate performances as MSU scored a season-high 17 runs and matched a season-best with 19 hits.
"I swung and got lucky," said Brinson about his four-hit, four-RBI game. "I got a few good hits in some key situations."
Maholm gave up three runs on seven hits, walked a pair and struck out three in recording his seventh win of the season.
Jeff Lacher finished the game for MSU, striking out two and giving up a run in two innings.
UA starter Hogan lasted 1-1/3 innings, giving up eight runs on six hits and departing the game after Burkley's bases-loaded home run. Josh Glynn and Layne Berry followed Hogan on the mound, combining for 10 strikeouts.
"Tonight, (Hogan) was leaving his fastball up a little bit and his curveball was falling in the zone," said Brinson. "We decided to sit on the curveball and we hit a few of them pretty good."
The two teams continue their SEC Western Division series Saturday at 2 p.m. Tanner Brock will start for the Bulldogs while Arkansas will start Jarrett Gardner. Saturday's start will be his second start of the season. His first start was against South Carolina last Saturday. He threw six innings, allowing 1 run on 6 hits with 2 strikeouts.
"Tomorrow, it's zero-zero again," said Polk. "Arkansas is a fine club and this will not be an easy series for us at all. We have a pitcher going against us that we don't know a heck of a lot about. I think Gardner has been their closer. He has good numbers. Hopefully, Tanner Brock is as sharp as he was last week and gives us a chance to win the second game."
MISSISSIPPI STATE 17, ARKANSAS 4
UA (18-12, 4-6 SEC) 000 210 001 - 4-10-1
MSU (20-11-1, 7-5 SEC) 170 080 01x - 17-19-0
WP - Paul Maholm (7-1). LP - Gary Hogan (3-3). HR - MSU: Matthew Brinson (6), Jason Burkley (6), Jon Mungle (6); UA: Ryan Fox (9). T -2:47. ATT - 6,531 (paid), 3,309 (actual).
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.