Bulldogs avoid sweep against Razorbacks

Bulldogs avoid sweep against Razorbacks


Bulldogs avoid sweep against Razorbacks


Arkansas’ Trey Killian, left, is greeted by teammates after pitching against Mississippi State on Friday night at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

Arkansas’ Trey Killian, left, is greeted by teammates after pitching against Mississippi State on Friday night at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

Baum Stadium’s broom closet door remained closed.

The Arkansas Razorbacks, with their first chance in seven SEC series to complete a winning sweep, lost 2-1 to the SEC West rival Mississippi State Bulldogs before 4,732 Sunday afternoon at Baum after beating the Bulldogs, 7-6 Friday night and 6-1 Saturday night.

This marked Arkansas’s fifth straight SEC series beating an opponent two games to one, the first Razorbacks team to achieve that since Arkansas’ 2004 SEC co-champions.

Off a 1-5 SEC start, the Razorbacks finally start a week over .500 in the league — 11-10 in the SEC and 26-18 overall — going into a three-game SEC West series against Alabama, while the Bulldogs leave Fayetteville 23-21, 7-14 in the SEC West.

“Overall it was a good weekend, we won the series,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said in Sunday’s postgame. “It was just disappointing that we didn’t play a little better today.”

Squandering some fine pitching by starter Keaton McKinney and relievers Jackson Lowery, charged with the loss, Josh Alberius and James Teague, the Razorbacks mustered but six hits off Bulldogs Austin Sexton, the winning starter going six complete, and relievers Trevor Fitts, Friday night’s loser in relief, Daniel Brown and Zac Houston while stranding 10.

“I thought our pitchers did a tremendous job all day as did theirs,” Van Horn said.

Arkansas played perfect defense Friday and Saturday, but committed two official errors Sunday, and unofficially, Van Horn said, should have caught Jake Vickerson’s<JU>Bermuda Triangle fly ball single in short left-center, falling between shortstop Brett McAfee, left fielder Joe Serrano and center fielder Andrew Benintendi leading off the seventh.

Vickerson ultimately scored the winning run from second. Arkansas second baseman Michael Bernal — making a fine, diving stop in short right of a grounder that first baseman Clark Eagan also pursued — had nobody to throw to at first with Lowery not covering, then, too late from his knees, threw home as Vickerson kept running.

McAfee’s two-out, two-base throwing error in the fourth preceded Luke Reynolds’ RBI single for an unearned 1-0 lead off McKinney.

“The two runs they scored, those runners probably shouldn’t have been on base,” Van Horn said. “That ball (the one dropping between three Hogs) has got to be caught.”

Meanwhile, one batter after Bobby Wernes being hit by a two-out bases-loaded pitch gave Arkansas its run to tie it 1-1 in the sixth, Bulldogs left fielder Cody Brown robbed Saturday night hitting hero McAfee with a great diving catch of McAfee’s sinking liner.

“He (Brown) comes in and makes a diving catch,” Van Horn said. If he doesn’t catch that ball, that was the difference in the game when you look back. They made the plays and we didn’t make the plays and they got the big hit with two outs and we didn’t. We have gotten a couple of those hits lately and we probably got that hit on Friday.”

Arkansas stranded a runner at third in the second and left the bases loaded in the sixth and eighth, with Bobby Wernes called out on strikes before McAfee grounded back to Houston who went on to record the save stranding a walk in the ninth.

“They outplayed us, that was obvious to see,” Van Horn said.

Still, Van Horn said, “We had our shot though we didn’t play well at all.”

Mississippi State had its shot Friday night, with first baseman WesRea going 5 for 5, including a two-run home run putting the Bulldogs up 6-5 in the eighth, but Arkansas won it 7-6 for reliever Zach Jackson with consecutive eighth-inning RBI singles by Clark Eagan and Joe Serrano.

Jackson earned the win in relief, tossing 32/3 innings and giving up six hits and two runs, while striking out seven. Norfork native and Mountain Home High grad Trey Killian received a no-decision after working the first 51/3 innings and giving up four earned runs, while striking out four.

On Saturday night, before a season-high 10,837, McAfee’s two-run double keyed a three-run third inning, and his RBI single capped a three-run seventh for the 6-1 victory.

Starter Dominic Taccolini – pitching out of a critical second and third, nobody out jam in a scoreless second inning – logged Saturday’s victory, pitching a four-hitter for 62/3 before relievers Lance Phillips in the seventh and Teague the final two innings kept the Bulldogs hitless.

Sunday’s game

Mississippi St….000 100 100 – 2 11 0

Arkansas……….000 001 000 – 1 6 2

Sexton, Fitts (7), D. Brown (8), Houston (8) and Collins; McKinney, Lowery (6), Alberius (9), Teague (9) and Pennell.

W-Sexton (4-4), L-Lowery (4-1).

Saturday’s game

Mississippi St…000 000 100 – 1 4 1

Arkansas………000 300 30x – 6 8 0

P. Brown, Houston (7) and Collins; Taccolini, Phillips (7), Teague (8) and Pennell, Shaddy (5).

W-Taccolini (6-3), L-P. Brown (5-5).

Friday’s game

Mississippi St….100 012 020 – 6 15 1

Arkansas……….004 100 00x – 7 9 0

Laster, Hudson (3), Mintz (3), Tatum (7) Fitts (7), D. Brown (8) and Collins; Killian, Jackson (6) and Pennell, Gosser (9).

W-Jackson (4-0), L-Fitts (2-3).


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