FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Duke Welker took a no-hitter into the seventh inning for Arkansas but a two-out double off the bat of Jeff Flagg carried No. 23 Mississippi State to a 2-1 win in front of 4,963 fans at Baum Stadium on Saturday.
Flagg sliced a 1-2 fastball from Welker with two-outs in the seventh inning into the right-center field gap for a double that would be the only two runs the Bulldogs would need to clinch a series win.
Mitch Moreland broke up Welker’s no-hitter on the first pitch of the seventh inning with a double down the left-field line. Welker then got Brian LaNinfa to fly out to center field but Joseph McCaskill followed with a single to right field to put runners on first and third base. Welker fanned his career-high 11th MSU hitter for the second out of the seventh inning before Flagg came through with the big hit.
The Bulldogs, who improve to 21-7 on the season and 7-4 in SEC play, have now won nine of their last 10 games at Baum Stadium dating back to the 2001 season. The Razorbacks fall to 24-10 on the year and 7-4 in league action. The loss also marked the first time this season UA has lost back-to-back games.
It was the second hard-luck loss for Welker (4-2) in his last three starts. He allowed just three hits to the Bulldogs the entire game – all in the seventh inning. Welker has posted a 2.49 ERA over his last three starts, pitching 21.2 innings with 18 strikeouts and an opponent batting average of .167.
Mississippi State starter Justin Pigott (3-3) was masterful with his first complete game of the season. He scattered eight hits and allowed just one unearned run with four strikeouts and one walk.
Arkansas took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning on Jeff Nutt’s RBI single to left field. Sean Jones reach on an error to open the inning and with one out Logan Forsythe singled to right field to put runners on first and second for Nutt.
Danny Hamblin followed with a sharp one-hopper up the middle that was head for center field. But it glanced off the pitcher’s glove and right to the shortstop, who turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Forsythe once again paced the Hogs’ offense, going 2 for 3 with a walk. He has now hit in seven straight games and 27 of his last 30.
The Razorbacks will look to avoid a sweep at 1:35 p.m. Sunday from Baum Stadium.