Arkansas beats No. 2 Mississippi State to win series

By: Matt Jones
Published: Friday, April 19, 2019
Arkansas shortstop Casey Martin celebrates after hitting a grand slam during a game against Mississippi State on Friday, April 19, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas shortstop Casey Martin celebrates after hitting a grand slam during a game against Mississippi State on Friday, April 19, 2019, in Fayetteville.

— Two big innings were the difference for Arkansas on Friday, and the No. 10 Razorbacks defeated No. 2 Mississippi State 12-5 to win the best-of-three series at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Arkansas (29-10, 11-6 SEC) will attempt for a series sweep on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Casey Martin hit a grand slam in the second inning and the Razorbacks added five in the seventh to pull away after the Bulldogs had pulled within 7-5. Jack Kenley and Jacob Nesbit drew bases loaded walks in the inning, and Casey Opitz had a bases-clearing hit.

The Razorbacks scored all five runs in the inning with two outs.

The big seventh came after Arkansas failed to capitalize with runners on base in earlier innings. The Razorbacks stranded 15 base runners, including the bases loaded twice.

Seven Mississippi State pitchers combined to walk 16 batters and the Bulldogs allowed 12 hits. Mississippi State (32-8, 10-7) had the ninth-lowest walk total entering the game.

The Razorbacks led 5-0 after Martin's grand slam, but Mississippi State pulled within 5-2 in the third inning against Arkansas starter Patrick Wicklander.

Opitz had an RBI single in the bottom of the third and Matt Goodheart hit an RBI triple in the fourth to push the Arkansas lead to 7-2. Opitz finished 3-for-5 with 3 RBI.

Mississippi State pulled within 7-5 on Justin Foscue's three-run home run against Kole Ramage in the fifth inning.

Kevin Kopps steadied the Razorbacks' pitching with three scoreless innings beginning in the sixth. Kopps didn't allow a hit and struck out three.

Mississippi State starter Peyton Plumlee suffered his third loss with a two-inning start in which he allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 3 hits and 3 walks.

Arkansas took over sole possession of second place in the SEC West. Texas A&M has a 10-5-1 league record and is the division leader based on win percentage. The Aggies are scheduled to play South Carolina twice Saturday.

Arkansas 12, Mississippi State 5 - Final

Marshall Denton worked around a two-out error by Casey Martin and the Razorbacks have clinched a huge series win at home.

The Razorbacks outhit the Bulldogs 12-5. Kevin Kopps is the winning pitcher and Peyton Plumlee is the loser.

The teams will play again tomorrow at 2 p.m.

We'll have more at WholeHogSports.com a little later.

Arkansas 12, Mississippi State 5 - End 8th Inning

Mississippi State walked three more in the eighth, but the Razorbacks stranded three when Jack Kenley grounded out to end the inning. Mississippi State has walked 16; Arkansas has stranded 15.

Marshall Denton will pitch for the Razorbacks in the ninth inning.

Arkansas 12, Mississippi State 5 - End 7th Inning

Christian Franklin grounded out to end the inning in which Arkansas scored five runs on just two hits.

Arkansas 12, Mississippi State 5 - Bottom 7th Inning

After the Razorbacks have threatened all game, Casey Opitz has broken the game open with a bases-clearing hit. Opitz's single into left field took a hop and bounced off the glove of left fielder Rowdey Jordan. Opitz went to third on the error and was credited with 2 RBI.

Arkansas has chased Cole Gordon and the Bulldogs are going to the bullpen for the fifth time. That hit fired up the big home crowd that was irate after Heston Kjerstad's ejection.

Arkansas 9, Mississippi State 5 - Bottom 7th Inning

Jacob Nesbit walked in five pitches to score Casey Martin. Cole Gordon is really struggling for Mississippi State, which has walked 13 batters tonight.

Arkansas 8, Mississippi State 5 - Bottom 7th Inning

Heston Kjerstad was called out looking on an awful strike call by home plate umpire John Brammer. Kjerstad argued the call and was ejected, and Brammer gave Dave Van Horn a long leash to come out and argue. He probably knew it was a bad call.

Curtis Washington Jr. will replace Kjerstad in the field.

Jack Kenley followed with a five-pitch walk to force home Trevor Ezell from third base. Jacob Nesbit is at-bat with the bases loaded and two outs.

Arkansas 7, Mississippi State 5 - Bottom 7th Inning

Arkansas has loaded the bases again with one out on two walks and a bunt single by Casey Martin. Heston Kjerstad is at the plate.

Arkansas 7, Mississippi State 5 - Middle 7th Inning

Kevin Kopps retired the heart of the Mississippi State batting order without a base runner in the seventh. The Razorbacks will send the top of their order to the plate in the bottom of the inning.

Arkansas 7, Mississippi State 5 - End 6th Inning

The Razorbacks have now stranded 11 after Christian Franklin struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch with runners on the corners.

Arkansas reliever Kevin Kopps had some command issues with a hit batsman and a walk, but the Bulldogs' top two hitters grounded out to end the half inning. MSU has stranded six.

Arkansas 7, Mississippi State 5 - End 5th Inning

The Razorbacks are making it difficult on themselves. After loading the bases again in the fifth, they came away empty handed when Dominic Fletcher hit into a double play. Arkansas has stranded nine runners, including five in the past two innings.

Arkansas 7, Mississippi State 5 - Middle 5th Inning

Justin Foscue hit a three-run home run with two outs - a deep shot over the bullpen in left field. Kole Ramage was able to get a groundout moments later to end the half inning.

That's a big swing in momentum in this game. The Razorbacks appeared on the verge of blowing the game open in the fourth, but now it's anyone's game.

Arkansas 7, Mississippi State 2 - End 4th Inning

Arkansas missed an opportunity to blow the game open in the fourth. Following Goodheart's triple, the Razorbacks had runners on the corners with no outs, but didn't score any more runs. Arkansas stranded the bases loaded when Casey Opitz was called out looking at a 3-2 pitch with two outs.

The Razorbacks are making a pitching change in the fifth. Kole Ramage is replacing Patrick Wicklander.

Wicklander's final line: 4 innings, 2 runs, 3 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts. He cannot earn the win.

Arkansas 7, Mississippi State 2 - Bottom 4th Inning

Casey Martin led off with a walk and scored on Matt Goodheart's RBI triple to the fence in right field.

Arkansas 6, Mississippi State 2 - Middle 4th Inning

Patrick Wicklander worked around a leadoff walk in the fourth inning. He has labored some the last couple of innings, but he should be able to throw again in the fifth.

Arkansas 6, Mississippi State 2 - End 3rd Inning

Heston Kjerstad walked, advanced on two wild pitches and scored on Casey Opitz's RBI single in the third inning.

The Razorbacks have five hits and have drawn five walks tonight.

Arkansas 5, Mississippi State 2 - Middle 3rd Inning

Patrick Wicklander had a rough third inning in which he allowed three hits and two walks. The inning ended when Justin Foscue flied out to center field, stranding the bases loaded.

Jake Mangum's RBI single scored Mississippi State's first run, and Wicklander walked Elijah MacNamee with the bases loaded with two outs. Mangum's hit was the 347th of his career, pulling him within five hits of the SEC career hits record.

Arkansas 5, Mississippi State 0 - Bottom 2nd Inning

Casey Martin's grand slam has given the Razorbacks a nice cushion. It came against Peyton Plumlee, who has given up a single and a walk in the inning. Mississippi State also committed an error to start the inning.

Martin hit the first pitch he saw from Plumlee. It landed over the wall in center field.

Arkansas 1, Mississippi State 0 - End 1st Inning

Jack Kenley struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch that ran in on him. That stranded runners on the corners.

Arkansas 1, Mississippi State 0 - Bottom 1st Inning

Arkansas loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a single. Trevor Ezell scored on Heston Kjerstad's RBI groundout. Jack Kenley is at the plate with runners on the corners and two outs.

Arkansas 0, Mississippi State 0 - Middle 1st Inning

Patrick Wicklander had a great first inning. He got Jake Mangum to ground out - it was upheld upon review - then struck out Jordan Westburg and Tanner Allen.

Wicklander threw 17 pitches in the inning.

Pregame

It's another chilly night in Fayetteville. It is in the low 60s but feels like it is in the 50s at first pitch.

There is a big crowd here tonight. This might be the largest crowd of the season.

The Razorbacks can win the series with a win tonight. Arkansas won 5-3 last night.

Patrick Wicklander is making his first home conference start and probably will be challenged more than he has been in any start this season. Peyton Plumlee, a senior right hander who missed last season with an injury, is on the mound for the Bulldogs.

Arkansas is wearing its red tops and hats, and white bottoms. Mississippi State is wearing gray tops and bottoms, and maroon caps.

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