Starkville, Miss. – Mississippi State scored a two-out run in the bottom of the 10th inning to capture a 3-2 victory over No. 11 Arkansas and take game one of the weekend series Saturday night at Dudy Noble Field.
Arkansas dropped to 34-17 overall and 16-9 in the Southeastern Conference. Mississippi State improved to 30-21 overall and 9-16 in league play.
Jay Sawatski (7-3) took the loss for the Razorbacks after pitching two-thirds of an inning and allowing one unearned run on one hit. Clint Brannon started and pitched seven innings. Brannon allowed one unearned run on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Saunders Ramsey (5-1) got the win in relief for MSU. Ramsey pitched one and one-third innings without allowing a hit and walking only one batter. Alan Johnson started and pitched eight and two-thirds innings and gave up two runs, both earned, on eight hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
The Razorbacks had a run thrown out at the plate to end the top of the second inning. With two outs, Haas Pratt doubled to right-center. Brady Toops was then hit-by-a-pitch to put runners at first and second.
Devin Day singled up the middle and Pratt rounded third attempting to score. Bulldogs catcher Craig Tatum successfully blocked the plate as Pratt slide home as MSU prevented a run from scoring.
Despite issuing a pair of walks early on, Brannon was in control through the first four innings of play. Mississippi State did not get its first hit off the lefty until the fourth inning when Tatum singled up the middle with two outs.
Brannon would hold MSU to only a single in the fourth as he fanned Brad Jones on a called third strike to end the inning.
The Bulldogs took advantage of an Arkansas error to score the game’s first run in the bottom of the fifth. After a ground out to open the inning, Thomas Berkery and Joseph Hunter each singled.
Jeff Butts then hit a chopper back to Brannon who turned to throw to second attempting for the double play. Brannon’s throw was wild, however, and the bases were loaded.
Jeffrey Rea hit a ground ball to second to force Butts out, but the Hogs were unable to complete the double play that allowed Berkery to score for a 1-0 MSU lead.
Brannon got out of the inning when Steve Gendron flied out to right field.
After giving up three hits in the first two innings, Johnson settled into a groove and held the Razorbacks to only two hits over the next five innings of play.
The Razorbacks saved a run from scoring in the seventh after a strong defensive play by Casey Rowlett. Berkery singled and moved to second after a sac bunt. Butts then singled up the middle and Berkery raced for home.
Rowlett field the ball and threw on target to Toops guarding home plate to nail Berkery for the second out of the inning.
Devin Day led off the eighth inning with a slow rolling single down the third base line and then moved to second after a wild pitch by Johnson.
Scott Bridges moved Day to third with a sac bunt for the first out of the inning.
Rowlett brought Day in with a sac fly to left that tied the game at 1-1.
The Bulldogs regained the lead in the eighth inning off Arkansas relief pitcher Boyd Goodner. Gendron singled and then just beat the throw from Toops to steal second and move into scoring position. With one out, Tatum laced a single to left field to score Gendron and give the Bulldogs a 2-1 advantage.
Trailing by a run entering the ninth the Razorbacks rallied. Dugger singled to open the inning and moved to second on a single up the middle by Goodwin.
Pratt tied the game with a single to shallow right field that scored Dugger from second. Stephen Robison, who pinch ran for Goodwin, moved to third on the play.
After Johnson got Toops to line out to center, Tackett struck out Day with runners on the corners to end the rally.
In the bottom of the 10th, Gendron singled and moved to second when Corely walked. Tatum hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Corley out at second and left runners on the corners.
Brad Jones then hit a ground ball to Pratt at first who threw home to Toops. Gendron was caught in a rundown between third and home for the second out of the inning. Tatum moved to second on the play.
Scarbrough then hit a ground ball to third that Brett Hagedorn fielded clean, but his throw was low and went past Pratt at first allowing the game winning run to score.
Arkansas and Mississippi State conclude the series with a doubleheader beginning Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be seven innings per SEC rules.