Arkansas Baseball Defeats Mississippi State; Wins Series 2-1

Walt Beazley/ArkansasRazorbacks.com

After sweeping Mississippi Valley State mid-week, the Diamond Hogs took two of three against the Bulldogs at Baum Stadium to win their second consecutive SEC series and finish with a 4-1 record this week.

After Arkansas came back to win the opener 5-4 on Friday, the two schools exchanged excellent pitching performances Saturday and Sunday. Mississippi State's Kendall Graveman threw a complete game on just 99 pitches to even the series on Saturday with a 4-1 win. But Randall Fant led the way for Arkansas to win the series with a 3-1 victory on Sunday.

Here's the Sunday recap from UA:

FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas scored three runs in the bottom of the first and Arkansas pitcher Randall Fant, Jalen Beeks and Colby Suggs made that stand up for the rest of the game as the 13th-ranked Razorbacks defeated No. 15 Mississippi State, 3-1, in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium.

The victory clinches the series for the Razorbacks and improves the team to 21-8 overall and 6-3 in Southeastern Conference play. Mississippi State drops to 23-8 overall and 3-6 in league play.

Fant (2-0) started on the mound and turned in his fourth consecutive quality start. The senior southpaw allowed one run on four hits and struck out six over six innings of work.

Fant then turned the game over to the Razorback bullpen, which worked three scoreless innings. Beeks allowed just one hit over his two shutout frames, while Suggs closed the door in the ninth, earning his third save of the season and second of the series with a scoreless ninth inning.

Mississippi State starter Ben Bracewell (0-1) took the loss. Bracewell did not record an out and gave up three runs on two hits and walked a pair.

Jake Wise had a pair of hits to lead the Razorbacks at the plate. Tyler Spoon and Matt Vinson each had a hit and a RBI, while Jacob Mahan and Joe Serrano had a hit and a run scored.

Wes Rea homered and went 2-for-4 with a RBI to lead Mississippi State offensively. C.T. Bradford, Demarcus Henderson and Brett Pirtle also contributed one hit each in the loss.

Arkansas scored its only three runs of the game in the bottom of the first. Mahan led off the inning with a single to center and a walk to Serrano put runners on first and second. Spoon then laced a double down the left field line, scoring Mahan and advancing Serrano to third. A walk to Brian Anderson loaded the bases and Vinson then drew a bases loaded walk to score the second run of the inning. Ficociello brought home the third run of the inning on his 6-4-3 double play.

Mississippi State got a run back in the top of the fourth. Rea led off the inning with his second home run of the inning, sending a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left field.

The Bulldogs were unable to get any closer the rest of the game. In the sixth, the Bulldogs left runners stranded on first and second after Daryl Norris flied out to center to end the threat.

Mississippi State attempted to mound one last rally in the ninth. The Bulldogs got the leadoff man on after an error by Ficociello, but Suggs came back to retire the next three batters to end the game and give Arkansas the series victory.

Arkansas continues SEC play next weekend in Tuscaloosa, Ala., against the Alabama Crimson Tide. The series begins on Thursday with a 7 p.m. first pitch in a game that will be televised by ESPNU. Friday’s game is set for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch, while the series finale on Saturday will start at 1:05 p.m.

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