OXFORD, Miss. – Wes McCrotty held Mississippi scoreless through seven innings and earned his first win of the season as Arkansas defeated Mississippi 6-1 in the opener of a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Oxford-University Stadium.
The Razorbacks (23-29, 7-19 SEC) recorded their first win over an SEC Western Division opponent in 11 games this season while the Rebels (29-24, 11-16 SEC) failed to tighten their grip on the eighth and final spot in next week’s SEC Tournament.
Kentucky entered the weekend trailing Mississippi by .058 in SEC winning percentage but earned a 9-5 win in its series opener at Vanderbilt on Friday. The win moved the Wildcats past Tennessee – a 14-3 loser at No. 1 South Carolina on Friday – and kept the pressure on the Rebels.
McCrotty (1-6) scattered nine hits and struck out three in seven innings, his longest outing of the season. UM starter Jeff McAvoy (7-6) suffered his fourth-consecutive loss, giving up six runs (earned) on 11 hits in 7 1/3 innings.
The Razorbacks got home runs from Brian King and Brian Kirby to win their first SEC road game since March 11. Kirby’s two-run homer in the top of the third inning stretched the UA lead to 5-0 while King’s solo shot in the eighth made it 6-0.
Kirby’s home run was his team-leading ninth of the season and 30th of his career, moving him into a seventh-place tie with Eric Hinske on the Razorbacks’ career home run list.
UA shortstop Jeff Fletcher tied a career high with three hits to lead the Hogs at the plate. Arkansas’ Scott Crossett extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 games with a ninth-inning single.
Arkansas out-hit Mississippi 13-9 and did not commit an error for the first time in 14 games.
Doubles by Greg Blum, Kirby and Fletcher led to two Razorback runs in the top of the second for a 2-0 UA lead.
The Rebels finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the eighth inning when Carl Lafferty greeted UA reliever Gary Hogan Jr. with a sacrifice fly to score Clint Farrar.
The series will continue Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT and Sunday at 1:37 p.m. CT.