STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State ends the most anticipated spring event on campus, Super Bulldog Weekend, with an incredible sweep of No. 3 Arkansas in a three-game Southeastern Conference series after winning Saturday’s doubleheader at Dudy Noble Field.
The Diamond Dawgs got their first three-game sweep of the season. It’s also the second straight home series win over a Top-5 team.
With the win, MSU improved to 22-19 (8-10 SEC), while Arkansas fell to 28-13 (10-8 SEC). The win also comes in front of an impressive season-high 10,147 fans who made Super Bulldog Weekend 2018 a successful one.
GAME 1 – Mississippi State 5, No. 3 Arkansas 3
Mississippi State won the first game of the day on a balanced attack. The Diamond Dawgs took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a Rowdey Jordan home run to left field.
Arkansas tied the game in the fourth inning when Luke Bonfield hit an RBI-single. State retook the lead in the fifth inning after Luke Alexander hit an RBI-double and Tanner Allen followed with an RBI-single to give the Dawgs a 3-1 lead.
The Razorbacks came within one run in the top of the seventh inning after Evan Lee hit a solo home run to make it a 3-2 ballgame, but that’s as close as Arkansas would get.
The Diamond Dawgs added a pair of runs to their lead in the eighth inning when Allen scored on a wild pitch and Elijah MacNamee doubled and scored Justin Foscue to push the lead to 5-2.
Arkansas scored one more run in the top of the ninth inning after Eric Cole hit a home run to left field.
Hits were 13-10 in favor of Arkansas. Foscue led the Diamond Dawg attack with three hits.
Ethan Small (4-3) did a good job keeping the Razorbacks in check. He pitched six innings, allowing one run on six hits and earned the win. He struck out six batters and walked two.
Keegan James and Zach Neff followed in relief. Blake Smith ended an eighth inning threat after working out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning. He earned his third save on the year.
Kacey Murphy (5-3) pitched 6.2 innings in the loss. He allowed three runs, all earned, on eight hits. He struck out three batters and walked none.
GAME 2 – Mississippi State 7, No. 3 Arkansas 5
For the second time this series, the Diamond Dawgs won in comeback fashion after going down 3-0 early.
The Razorbacks made it a 1-0 ballgame in the first inning after Evan Lee scored on a MSU error. They scored two more runs in the inning after Jared Gates doubled and scored Casey Martin and Cole.
Jake Mangum’s single in the home half of the third inning scored Dustin Skelton to make it 3-1. In the fifth inning, Skelton found himself in another scoring play when he hit an RBI-groundout, which scored Justin Foscue and made the score 3-2.
The sixth inning was an inning with plenty of activity. First, Arkansas added another run to it’s lead when Casey Opitz singled and scored Games. Then, being down 4-2, the Diamond Dawg offense broke through for four runs, as MSU took a 6-4 lead.
Luke Alexander singled and Tanner Allen doubled to start the inning. Hunter Stovall then hit a sac-fly to score Alexander and make it 4-3 in favor of Arkansas. MSU scored another run on a groundout by Jordan Westburg to tie the game.
Elijah MacNamee followed with an RBI-single and later scored on a passed ball.
State scored one more run in the seventh inning when Alexander singled and scored Rowdey Jordan to make it a 7-4 ballgame.
Arkansas scored another run in the eighth inning, but it wasn’t enough, as State held on for the SEC sweep.
For the first time this series, MSU held the hits advantage. The Dawgs had 11 hits. Jordan, Foscue, Allen and Alexander each had two hits apiece. Arkansas finished with 10 hits.
Jacob Billingsley (3-2) earned the win after pitching six innings, allowing seven hits and four runs. He had seven strikeouts.
Cole Gordon followed with 1.2 innings of relief, allowing one run on three hits. Zach Neff followed and retired all four batters he faced for his first save as a member of MSU baseball.
Up next for State, the Dawgs will have its fourth-meeting of the season with in-state rival Ole Miss for the annual Governor’s Cup at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. beginning at 6:02 p.m. CT.
The Diamond Dawgs enter their final four weeks of the regular season trailing Ole Miss by two games for first place in the SEC Western Division standings.
State still has SEC battles with Texas A&M, Alabama, Kentucky and Florida.