No. 9 Mississippi State Completes Series Sweep
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Mississippi State’s Todd Nicholas held Arkansas to one run on a season-low three hits as the ninth-ranked Bulldogs completed a three-game sweep of the Razorbacks with a 5-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas dropped to 18-5 overall and 2-4 in the Southeastern Conference, while Mississippi State improved to 17-3-1 overall and 5-1 in the SEC. The win marked the first time since 2001 the Razorbacks have been swept at home by an SEC foe. South Carolina took three from Arkansas on March 9-11, that season.
The Razorbacks were limited to three hits in the game, their lowest hit total since being held to three hits by Southeast Missouri on May 14, 2002. Mississippi State pitching held the Razorbacks to seven runs in three games, the lowest offensive output for the Hogs in a home SEC series since being held to seven runs against Kentucky last season.
Nicholas (3-0) threw 121 pitches in nine innings of work and struck out eight. Nicholas set down nine straight at one point during the game before Scott Bridges single to left for the third hit of the day for Arkansas.
Jarrett Gardner (3-1) took the loss for the Razorbacks after allowing four runs, all earned, on seven hits in three and one-third innings. Gardner threw 61 pitches and ran his streak of consecutive innings without allowing a walk to 33.
Mississippi State put up a pair of runs in the top of the second inning. Brad Corley doubled to begin the inning and scored on a double by Jon Mungle. With two outs in the inning, Thomas Berkery singled through the left side to plate Mungle and give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
Arkansas answered the Bulldogs with a run in the bottom half of the second inning. Andrew Wishy walked and moved to second on a single by Clay Goodwin. After Nick Pitts put down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third, Ryan Fox grounded out to second to plate Wishy.
In the top of the third, Matthew Brinson hit a solo home run with two outs to push the Mississippi State lead to 3-1.
The Bulldogs added a run in the top of the fourth inning on Berkey’s RBI single to center that scored Brent Lewis from second. The run gave Mississippi State a 4-1 advantage.
Mississippi State tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning for a 5-1 lead. Joseph Hunter hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Craig Tatum to give the Bulldogs the final four-run victory.
Arkansas returns to action Tuesday, March 25, against Southwest Missouri at Baum Stadium. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.
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