Baseball Drops Series Finale to Mississippi State

BY David Beall

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas baseball team (26-18, 11-10) came up on the short end of a 2-1 decision Sunday afternoon, falling to Mississippi State (23-21, 7-14) in the series finale at Baum Stadium.

Despite dropping the series finale, No. 25 Arkansas won its fifth consecutive SEC series victory for the first time since the 2004 season and remains the only team in the conference to win each of its last five league series. The Razorbacks move to 12-4 in the month of April, including winning seven of the last nine games.

Andrew Benintendi continues to tear the cover off the ball, recording his fourth multi-hit game in the last five contests as he raised his batting average to second in the SEC at .381. He has reached base in 17 straight games and in 17 of his last 21 plate appearances.

Down 2-1 in the eighth inning, Arkansas loaded the bases with one out, but came up short as a strikeout and groundout ended the threat. The Razorbacks stranded 10 runners in the game, including the bases loaded twice.

Keaton McKinney worked another stellar outing, lasting 5.1 innings and giving up 6 hits and no earned runs, while walking two and striking out one. Jackson Lowery (4-1) suffered the loss, giving up a run in the seventh inning, which turned out to be the difference. Josh Alberius and James Teague combined to throw a scoreless ninth frame.

Arkansas returns to action next weekend, traveling to Hoover, Alabama for a three-game series with the Crimson Tide Thursday through Saturday at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Thursday and Friday’s games will be televised on SEC Network, followed by an ESPN2 telecast on Saturday.

Coach Dave Van Horn opening statement: “We didn’t play good, obviously.  It’s one of those losses that I don’t know if we would have won the game, but we just didn’t play like we’ve been playing.  We gave up one earned run, should’ve been two, that ball has got to be caught on that fly ball.  Communication – the left fielder, that’s his over call if he wants it.  Somebody’s got to call him off.  That ends up being your winning run.  We had our shot to win the ballgame even though we didn’t play good at all.”

Van Horn on the Razorbacks working the counts at the plate: “Deep counts are a good thing, but you can’t take strike three.  You can’t foul off too many pitches and hope you get a better one.  That’s how deep counts happen a lot of times—you foul off pitches and you’re trying to work the count.  That wasn’t our game plan, it just happened today.”

Junior infielder Bobby Wernes on today’s game:  “I think it’s going to help us.  I think that at the end of the day maybe we were getting a little bit of a big head.  I think that we’ll definitely find a positive out of this and we’ll definitely learn from it – not to take any games off or anything like that.”

Game Notes

  • Arkansas has posted a record of 12-4 during the month of April.
  • The Razorbacks have won an SEC-best five consecutive conference series.
  • The Arkansas pitching staff has allowed two runs or less in three of the last four games.
  • Tyler Spoon collected his 45th career multi-hit game.
  • Andrew Benintendi has reached base in 17 straight games and in 17 of his last 21 plate appearances.
  • Benintendi’s .490 on-base percentage ranks second in the conference.
  • Benintendi now holds a .381 batting average, good for second in the SEC.
  • Benintendi continues to lead the SEC with 112 total bases and a .723 slugging percentage.
  • Benintendi has 20 multi-hit games in back-to-back seasons.

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