FAYETTEVILLE – Luis Pollorena and Caleb Reed combined to throw 8.1 innings of one-run baseball out of the bullpen as Mississippi State claimed the series finale from Arkansas, 5-3, on Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas, which took two of three games from the Bulldogs, drops to 26-9 and is now 8-7 in Southeastern Conference play. At the halfway point of the league schedule, Arkansas is tied with Alabama and Ole Miss for first place in the Western Division. Mississippi State is now 22-14 and 6-9 in league play.
Mississippi State relievers Pollorena and Reed held down the Razorbacks over the final 8.2 innings. Pollorena improved to 4-2 on the season, throwing three innings and allowing a run on four hits with a strikeout. Caleb Reed closed the game, throwing 5.1 shutout innings to earn his sixth save of the season.
Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek suffered the loss to drop to 2-1 on the year. Stanek gave up four runs, three earned, on three hits in three innings.
Evan Mitchell, the Mississippi State starter, lasted just 0.2 of an inning and gave up two runs on three hits.
Dominic Ficociello and Jarrod McKinney each had two hits on the day to pace the Arkansas offense. Kyle Robinson drove in a pair of runs in the loss. Bo Bigham extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a hit and also drove in a run.
Jarrod Parks scored twice and went 2-for-3 with a RBI to lead the Bulldogs offensively. Trey Johnson also had a RBI and a base hit.
Mississippi State struck first with a run in the top of the first. With two out, Parks walked and came around to score from first on a RBI double by Johnson down the right field line.
Arkansas grabbed the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Back-to-back one-out singles by Matt Reynolds and Collin Kuhn put runners on the corners. Kuhn then moved to second on a stolen base. After a strikeout by Sam Bates, Robinson grounded a single up the middle, scoring both runners to put the Razorbacks in front 2-1.
Arkansas tacked on another run in the bottom of the second. James McCann walked with one out and moved to second on a single by McKinney. After an infield fly to first by Tim Carver, Bigham lined a single to left-center field to plate McCann.
Mississippi State trimmed the lead to one with a run in the top of the third. Ryan Collins drew a leadoff walk and then stole second with one out. Brent Brownlee popped out to third for the second out of the inning. Parks was able to get a clutch two-out hit, singling down the right field line to score Collins.
The Bulldogs took the lead for good with two runs in the top of the fourth. Wes Thigpen singled up the middle to begin the inning and Adam Frazier then drew a walk. Jonathan Ogden laid down a sacrifice bunt back to Stanek, but his throw to first was wide, allowing Thigpen to score, Frazier to move to third and Ogden to reach second. A sacrifice fly to left field by Jaron Shepherd scored Frazier to give MSU a 4-3 lead.
Mississippi State added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Parks doubled to right-center field with one out and moved to third on a single by Cody Freeman. Thigpen was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Nick Vickerson drew a four-pitch walk that scored Parks.
Arkansas was unable to get anything going offensively over the game’s final three innings as the Razorbacks managed just one base runner.
Arkansas opens a four-game road trip with a midweek game at Oral Roberts on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and the game will be televised on CST.