FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The No. 3 Mississippi State baseball team (32-7, 10-6 SEC) took a 1-0 lead over the Razorbacks in the fifth inning, but it was No. 10 Arkansas (28-10, 10-6 SEC) who took the opening game of the three-game Southeastern Conference series by a score of 5-3 Thursday night at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Starting pitcher Ethan Small (4-1) had a no-hitter through four innings of the game. Overall he allowed three runs on five hits and struck out nine batters in six innings of work.
Sophomore Rowdey Jordan’s leadoff home run to right in the fifth inning gave the Dawgs a 1-0 lead. State’s lead was short lived, as three runners came across to score for Arkansas in the bottom of the sixth inning. Sophomore Casey Optiz drew a leadoff walk, which was followed by a single from freshman Christian Franklin. A two-RBI double from sophomore Casey Martin scored two runs, while sophomore Matt Goodheart’s single to left center plated the third run of the inning.
MSU got a run back in the eighth inning to make it a 3-2 ballgame. Junior Dustin Skelton doubled to right center. He then advanced to third on a wild pitch before a ground out scored him. The Razorbacks scored two runs in their half of the eighth on a two-run home run from junior Dominic Fletcher to increase their lead to 5-2.
Needing three runs to keep hope alive in the ninth, senior Elijah MacNamee sent a ball over the left field fence to draw within two runs at 5-3. A pair of strikeouts and a pop fly ended the MSU threat, as Arkansas went on to claim game one 5-3.
Junior Riley Self tossed two innings in relief and allowed two runs on four hits. He fanned one batter and walked one.
Redshirt-junior Isaiah Campbell (7-1) earned the Razorback win after allowing two runs on five hits in 7 2⁄3 innings. He fanned 10 batters in the effort.
Game two is scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be televised by Mississippi State Sports Network and SEC Network+.