STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State scored eight runs in the first four innings of the game and Bulldog starting pitcher Chris Stratton struck out nine and allowed just two runs in seven innings as Mississippi State defeated No. 3 Arkansas, 11-2, in the series opener on Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.
Arkansas drops to 20-3 and 3-1 in Southeastern Conference play with the loss, while Mississippi State is now 16-7 and 2-2 in league play.
Bo Bigham and Jimmy Bosco each had two hits to lead the Razorbacks at the plate. Sam Bates and Tim Carver each added a RBI in the loss.
For Mississippi State at the plate, Adam Frazier and Mitch Slauter each had three hits and scored two runs. Hunter Renfroe hit a pair of home runs and drove in four. Sam Frost and Trey Porter each had two RBI for the Bulldogs.
Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale (5-1) suffered his first loss of the season, giving up eight runs, seven earned, on nine hits in three innings.
Mississippi State starter Chris Stratton (5-0) earned his fifth win of the season, giving up two runs and striking out nine in seven innings.
Trent Daniel and Michael Gunn each had scoreless appearances in relief for Arkansas. Gunn struck out three in two scoreless innings, whiel Daniel retired both batters he faced. Derrick Bleeker made his first appearance on the mound this season and struck out the side in a scoreless inning.
Mississippi State struck first, scoring twice in the bottom of the first. Frazier singled to lead off the inning. After the next two batters were retired, Renfroe hit a deep drive to center field that pushed Jacob Morris back to the wall. Morris ran into the fence and was unable to make the catch. Renfroe was able to circle the bases for an inside-the-park home run to put the Bulldogs in front 2-0.
Mississippi State added another two in the bottom of the second. Slauter led off the inning with a single and then moved to second after a walk to Wes Rea. A sacrifice bunt by Matthew Britton put runners at second and third with one out. Demarcus Henderson then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Slauter. Frazier then followed with a single to center field to bring home Rea for the fourth run of the game.
Arkansas got on the board with a run in the top of the third. With one out, Morris tripled to center field and then scored on a ground out to second by Carver.
The Bulldogs answered with two runs in the bottom of the third. Porter singled to right field and Renfroe followed with his second homer of the night, a two-run blast over the wall in left field.
Arkansas added a run in the top of the fourth. Matt Reynolds drew a leadoff walked and came around to score when Bates doubled to the left-center field alley to cut the lead to 6-2.
Mississippi State scored two runs for the fourth straight inning in the bottom of the fourth. A fielding error by Bigham allowed Henderson to reach to start the inning. Frazier then doubled to left field to move Henderson to third. C.T. Bradford was then hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. A base hit to left field by Porter scored two runs to make the score 8-2.
The Bulldogs closed the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Mississippi State loaded the bases with nobody out and Frost doubled to right field to score three runs. The third run scored from third after a throwing error by Bosco.
Arkansas and Mississippi State continue the weekend series on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Razorbacks are scheduled to start sophomore right hander Ryne Stanek (5-0, 1.52), while the Bulldogs will counter with junior lefty Nick Routt (1-2, 4.05).