FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Mississippi State dropped its third straight one-run decision in Southeastern Conference baseball action, falling 5-4 to Arkansas Friday night at Baum Stadium.
The 16h-ranked Bulldogs scored one run in the ninth inning but could not produce the game-tying run. With runners at second and third base and no outs, the Bulldogs had back-to-back pop-ups, an intentional walk to load the bases and a strikeout to end the game.
The 11th-ranked Razorbacks won their fourth straight game in league play, while moving to 20-7 overall and 5-2 in league play. The Bulldogs are now 22-7 and 2-5. MSU has lost seven of 12 since winning the first 17 to start the season.
“Our kids hung in there and kept battling,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “They are really hurting right now. All we can do is keep battling. I felt really good about having (Adam Frazier and C.T. Bradford) up there in the ninth inning. They just didn’t get it done. You can always point to the ninth inning. We lost the game before that.”
Making his first start in SEC play this season, Luis Pollorena pitched well. Pollorena allowed four hits and four runs (all earned) in 6.1 innings of work. The senior left-hander did walk eight, including early control issues which allowed the Razorbacks to score single runs in the first and third innings.
MSU battled back from that early deficit with two runs in the sixth inning and a go-ahead score in the seventh inning.
In the sixth inning, the Bulldogs began their rally with two outs. Hunter Renfroe singled and Alex Detz followed with an RBI-double. Wes Rea followed with an RBI-single chasing Arkansas starter Barrett Astin. A pop-up ended this threat.
In the seventh inning, an RBI-single by Nick Ammirati placed the Bulldogs on top 3-2.
Arkansas came back with three scores all courtesy of a triple by Matt Vinson in the home half of the seventh inning. A single and walk set the inning up and chased Pollorena. In relief, Myles Gentry hit a batter to load the bases before being touched for the triple.
“Right now, things aren’t happening for us in the road in the conference,” Cohen said. “We basically let one batter beat us on the triple. We are close and our kids are competing. This was a great game played in a great environment. If we keep competing like this, we will win our fair share of games.”
The Bulldogs finished with 11 hits, including Renfroe’s first four-hit game as a Bulldog. Renfroe has now hit safely in 14 straight games. Detz and Brett Pirtle each added multiple hits.
The Razorbacks finished with seven hits, including multiple-hit games by Tyler Spoon and Joe Serrano. Arkansas made the only two errors of the game but benefited from eight walks and a hit batsman.
The series resumes with a 2:05 p.m. start Saturday. The Easter Sunday finale is set for 1:05 p.m. and will be televised regionally by Cox Sports and Comcast Sports Southeast.