By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – As the training room fills up for Mississippi State, coach John Cohen shakes his head that his team is even able to hang with the No. 3 team in the country.
The Bulldogs had ample opportunity to take down Arkansas and take the weekend series on Sunday, but the Razorbacks left Dudy Noble Field with an 8-5 win in 11 innings.
MSU (16-9, 2-4 SEC) tied it in the ninth but couldn’t match Arkansas offensively in extra frames. The Hogs (22-3, 5-1) scored five times in the 11th for an 8-3 lead, and State scored a couple in the bottom half before reliever Cade Lynch finally shut the door.
“They don’t ever give in, they don’t give up,” Cohen said. “I really feel like our kids are doing everything they possibly can to keep us in games and to give us the best chance to win. It’s just not happening for us right now.”
Cohen said the Bulldogs had 13 players taking varying forms of treatment prior to the game. MSU has been missing four starting position players and starting pitcher Ben Bracewell, although center fielder C.T. Bradford started the first two games of this series before sitting out Sunday.
Not too sick to pitch
Starting pitcher Kendall Graveman was vomiting prior to Sunday’s game due to a sinus infection. Despite that, the junior went out and tossed 51/3 innings of two-run ball.
“That’s the kind of kid he is,” Cohen said. “Those are the kind of kids we have in our program right now. If we didn’t, with the five guys we lost, we’d be losing these games 10-0.”
MSU was 1 of 16 with runners in scoring position, and Adam Frazier hit into a triple play in the fourth inning. State was up 2-0 at the time.
Arkansas took the lead in the seventh, which began with Tim Carver’s double. He scored when Dominic Ficociello lifted a high fly ball to center field that Hunter Renfroe couldn’t find, and it landed in front of the sophomore for a double to make it 3-2.
Frazier scored the tying run in the ninth when Arkansas second baseman Bo Bigham dropped the ball on a force play at second, which would’ve ended the game.
Graveman skirted trouble thanks to inning-ending double plays in the fourth and fifth. But Arkansas broke through with two runs in the sixth on RBI singles by Derrick Bleeker and Jimmy Bosco.
Sam Frost had three of MSU’s 10 hits off the bench.
Reliever Caleb Reed (0-4) took the loss, allowing three runs in 42/3 innings. Colby Suggs (2-0), the fourth of six Arkansas relievers, earned the win.