Clutch pitching and timely hitting proved to be the story for the No. 13 Mississippi State baseball team Sunday as the Bulldogs claimed a 5-1 win against Arkansas to clinch the weekend series.
MSU improved its record to 20-10 on the season and 6-3 in conference play, winning its first three SEC series for the first time since 2003. The Razorbacks fell to 17-10 overall and 4-5 in league play.
Junior lefty Jacob Lindgren (3-0) earned the win for the Maroon and White with 4.0 innings of relief and a season-high eight strikeouts, while Chris Oliver (2-3) took the loss for UA. All-American junior righty Jonathan Holder earned his fourth save of the season and the 34th of his career, giving him sole possession of third place on the all-time SEC career saves list.
The Bulldogs struck first in the opening frame when Alex Detz crushed a 3-1 offering over the right field fence to give his squad an early 2-0 lead. The home run was the second of the season for Detz and Mississippi State’s first long ball since Detz homered on March 5 against South Alabama.
Arkansas responded in the fourth inning with a Brian Anderson RBI single up the middle to close the gap to 2-1. The Hogs threatened again with runners on first and third with one out in the fourth, before Lindgren entered the game and recorded two quick outs to get out of the jam
In the bottom of the fifth, junior outfielder Jake Vickerson earned a one-out walk and advanced to third base by stealing second and third. First baseman Wes Rea then ripped a two-out, two-strike single to right field to extend MSU’s lead to 3-1.
The Bulldogs plated another insurance run in the seventh, as freshman Gavin Collins led off with a single and later scored on an RBI groundout by Detz to make the score 4-1. State plated its final run in the eighth as Brett Pirtle scored on a sacrifice fly by Derrick Armstrong.
Mississippi State returns to action Friday as they travel to Baton Rouge for a three-game tilt against current No. 3 LSU at Alex Box Stadium. The Bulldogs and Tigers are set to play at 6:30 p.m. Friday (CSS), 6:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU) and 1 p.m. Sunday.