STARKVILLE, Miss. – Kevin Donovan struck out a career-high 16 Arkansas batters as No. 11 Mississippi State defeated Arkansas 3-2 on Friday night in the opener of a three-game Southeastern Conference series.
A season-high crowd of 4,073 at Dudy Noble Field saw the Bulldogs (21-5, 7-2 SEC) snap a six-game losing streak in the series while the Razorbacks (15-17, 2-8 SEC) suffered their fifth-consecutive loss. The defeat was the Razorbacks’ eighth in a row in league play, their longest since losing nine-straight SEC games in 1992.
Donovan (3-1) scattered six hits and gave up one run (earned) in 8 2/3 innings to earn the victory. UA starter Gary Hogan Jr. (2-2) took the loss despite giving up two runs (one earned) on just four hits in seven innings to match the longest outing of his young career.
MSU reliever Adam Larson recorded the final out of the game for his SEC-leading seventh save of the season, but not before working himself into and out of trouble. Larson gave up an RBI single by Jeff Fletcher and walked Jack Welsh to load the bases before Scott Crossett lined out to first base to end the game.
Brad Hagedorn gave the Hogs a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth with a two-out single to center field that scored Kyle Washburn from second base. Hagedorn and Fletcher led the Hogs with two hits each.
The Bulldogs took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the eighth, including RBI singles by Jon Knott and Phillip Willingham and a sacrifice fly by Travis Chapman. Willingham’s two hits led MSU.
Welsh drew his 49th career hit-by-pitch in the first inning, moving him past Ryan Lundquist for the UA career record in that category. UA’ s Greg Blum extended his career-best hitting streak to eight games with a single in the fourth inning.
Arkansas and Mississippi State will continue the series Saturday at 5 p.m. CT and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT.