Arkansas Beats Mississippi State 7-3; Hogs Eve
BY ANDRES FOCIL
STARKVILLE, MISS. – The Arkansas Razorbacks got six strong innings from starter Jarrett Gardner and a two-run home run from Andrew Wishy in taking game two from the Mississippi State Bulldogs 7-3 Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Stadium.
The Razorbacks improved to 19-12 overall and 5-6 in the Southeastern Conference, while the Bulldogs dropped to 20-12 and 7-6 in the conference.
Gardner pitched 6.1 innings allowing two runs, both earned, on five hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Gardner did not allow a run until the bottom of the sixth inning and set personal a best in innings pitched and tied his career-high for strikeouts.
Tanner Brock fell to 4-2 after allowing six runs, five earned, on seven hits in 5.1 innings of work. Brock walked three and struck out six.
The Razorbacks took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Nick Pitts doubled to lead-off the inning and moved to third on a ground out by Jeff Fletcher. Scott Bridges brought Pitts in with a sacrifice fly to center for the Hogs’ first run of the day.
Arkansas increased its lead in the top of the fourth inning on Andrew Wishy’s fourth home run of they year. Wishy took Brock’s 2-2 offering over the right-center fence with Brady Toops (walk) aboard to give the Razorbacks a 3-0 advantage. Jeff Fletcher gave the Razorbacks a 4-0 lead with a single down the first base line that scored Ryan Fox (walk). Arkansas took advantage of a Mississippi State miscue for their fifth run.
With Pitts on third (intentional walk) and Fletcher on first, Brock threw wild on a failed pick-off of Fletcher which allowed Pitts to score and Fletcher to advance to third. Bridges then popped out to center to end the inning with Razorbacks holding a 5-0 lead.
Michael Conner led-off the sixth inning with a solo home run to straight away centerfield to give the Hogs a 6-0 lead. The home run was the eighth of the season for Conner.
Mississippi State broke the shutout bid when Chad Henry blasted a solo home run over the left field fence with two outs in bottom of the sixth inning. Henry’s home run snapped a string of 10 consecutive batters retired by Razorback hurler Jarrett Gardner.
The Razorbacks made it a six-run lead again as Michael Conner plated his second RBI of the day with a double down the right field line that scored Wishy (hit-by-pitch) for a 7-1 score.
The Bulldogs plated a run in the bottom of the seventh to cut the Arkansas lead to 7-2. With two on and one out, Gardner was relieved by Josh Merryman who gave up an RBI single by Michael Brown that scored Brent Lewis. Merryman was able to retire the next two Bulldogs to end the scoring threat.
Mississippi State scored a run in the bottom of the ninth off Merryman for the final 7-3 margin. Merryman finished the game throwing 2.2 innings allowing one run, unearned, on three hits with one strikeout.
The Razorbacks and Bulldogs will take to the field at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the final game of the series. Scott Roehl is slated to take the mound for the Razorbacks. Roehl is 2-0 with a 4.50 earned run average this season.
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