FAYETTEVILLE – Matt Vinson put Arkansas ahead with a three-run triple in the bottom of the seventh and the 13th-ranked Razorbacks held off a Mississippi State rally in the top of the ninth to defeat the No. 16 Bulldogs, 5-4, on Friday night at Baum Stadium.
With the victory, Arkansas improves to 20-7 overall and 5-2 in Southeastern Conference play, while Mississippi State drops to 22-7 and 2-5 in league play.
With Mississippi State leading 3-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Razorbacks rallied for three runs to take a 5-3 lead. Tyler Spoon started the rally with a one-out single and advanced to second after a walk to Brian Anderson. Dominic Ficociello was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Vinson, who lifted a 1-0 pitch over the head of center fielder C.T. Bradford and to the wall in left-center field, clearing the bases to give the Razorbacks a 5-3 lead. Arkansas was unable to extend the lead as Vinson was left stranded at third base.
After a quiet eighth inning, Mississippi State did not go quietly in the top half of the ninth. A leadoff walk to Brett Pirtle and a hit by pitch to Demarcus Henderson put runners on first and second with nobody out. Nick Ammirati laid down a bunt to the left of the mound and Trent Daniel attempted to throw Pirtle out at third, but the throw was low and got past Jacob Mahan, allowing Pirtle to score, moving Henderson to third and Ammirati to second with nobody out. Daniel induced a pop out by MSU leadoff man Adam Frazier for the first out of the inning. Arkansas then called on closer Colby Suggs, who got C.T. Bradford to fly out to left for the second out. After an intentional walk to Hunter Renfroe loaded the bases, Suggs struck out Alex Detz on three pitches to give the Razorbacks a thrilling 5-4 victory.
Vinson drove in a game-high four runs in the win and went 1-for-2. Joe Serrano and Spoon each had two hits and scored a run, while Ficociello had a hit and a RBI. Mahan extended his hitting streak to 14 straight games with a hit and a run scored.
Renfroe led the Bulldogs at the plate with a perfect 4-for-4 night with a walk and a run scored. Detz had two hits and a RBI, while Ammirati and Wes Rea each had a hit and a RBI.
Arkansas reliever Jalen Beeks (3-0) earned the win on the mound. Beeks gave up two hits in a scoreless inning of work. Suggs earned his second save, getting the final two outs of the ball game.
Arkansas starter Barrett Astin pitched well, but received a no decision. Astin allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out six in 5.2 innings.
Mississippi State starter Luis Pollorena (4-1) took the loss for the Bulldogs. Pollorena allowed four runs and struck out five in 6.1 innings of work.
In the first inning, Arkansas got two runners aboard with a pair of walks. Ficociello drove in the game's first run on the first hit of the day, lining a single to right-center field.
The Razorbacks added another run in the third, extending their lead to 2-0. Serrano and Spoon led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After Anderson drew a walk to load the bases, Vinson also earned a free pass, drawing an walk for the game's second run.
Mississippi State evened the game with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth. After getting two quick outs, the Bulldogs got three straight hits to tie the game. After Renfroe singled, Detz doubled off the right field to plate Renfroe for the first Bulldog run. Rea followed up with an RBI single that tied the game at two and forced Astin from the game. Brandon Moore replaced Astin, and got out of the jam in the sixth.
The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game with a run in the seventh. Mississippi State got a leadoff double, and moved the runner to third with a sacrifice bunt. An RBI single from Ammirati plated the runner and put MSU ahead 3-2.
Arkansas and Mississippi State continue the three-game series on Saturday with first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. The Razorbacks will start junior right hander Ryne Stanek (2-1, 2.35), while the Bulldogs will counter with senior righty Kendall Graveman (2-2, 2.84). Tickets for Saturday's game remain and are $10 for reserved seats. Tickets can be purchased on gameday at the Baum Stadium ticket office, while supplies last.
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