FINAL: No. 10 Arkansas 8, MSU 5

The buzz: The Razorbacks (25-6, 8-3 SEC) broke open a pitchers’ duel in the seventh with four runs, three of them charged to MSU relievers. That turned a 2-1 State lead into a 5-2 Hogs advantage. A solid start by freshman Chris Stratton was wasted, and MSU (16-15, 3-8) lost its third SEC series of the season.

MSU at the plate: DH Russ Sneed was 3-for-4 with a double and solo home run, the latter cutting Arkansas’ lead to 5-3 in the seventh. LF Ryan Duffy was 3-for-5; 1B Connor Powers was 2-for-5; CF/RF Ryan Collins was 3-for-5; and Nick Vickerson hit a two-run homer in the ninth. Leadoff hitter Luke Adkins had a rough day, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Arkansas at the plate: Four players had two hits, the biggest hit a bases-loaded, two-run single by Monk Kreder in the seventh to give Arkansas a 4-2 lead. It was part of that four-run outburst. Leadoff man Collin Kuhn had just one hit, but it was a solo homer, and he was hit by pitch twice and scored twice.

MSU on the mound: Stratton lasted six-plus innings, leaving after hitting the leadoff batter (Kuhn) in the fateful seventh. He was charged with two runs – one earned – on seven hits, walked two, struck out five, and threw 106 pitches. Fellow freshmen Chad Girodo and Kendall Graveman were pounded in the seventh, and senior Greg Houston had to bail them out with a double-play ball. Girodo (1-2) took the loss.

Arkansas on the mound: Righty Brett Eibner threw a lot of pitches – 106 – and allowed 10 baserunners. But he gave up just two runs – one earned – on seven hits and struck out 10 in 5.0 innings. Jeremy Heatley was solid in middle relief, and D.J. Baxendale got his seventh save of the year.

Key stats: MSU had at least one runner on base in each inning. The Bulldogs stranded 12 runners. They also committed four errors, leading to three unearned runs.

Bottom line: As in Friday’s 8-3 Arkansas win, the Hogs took a while to get going. But against so many young arms, one of the better lineups in the SEC was bound to get on track. A shallow bench puts MSU in a bind to begin with, and they had no good pinch-hit options in the ninth inning with the bottom of the order up.

Up next: Game 3 is set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Neither coach is sure who will pitch, but MSU coach John Cohen said junior LHP Trey Johnson (0-0, 6.23) could get the nod, while Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn thinks freshman LHP Randall Fant (2-0, 2.08) will start for him.

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