Arkansas completes sweep of No. 2 Mississippi State

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Saturday, April 20, 2019
Arkansas designated hitter Matt Goodheart runs toward first base during a game against Ole Miss on Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Charlie Kaijo
Arkansas designated hitter Matt Goodheart runs toward first base during a game against Ole Miss on Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Fayetteville.

— Arkansas has swept the nation's No. 2 team and moved into first place in the SEC West.

The No. 10 Razorbacks defeated Mississippi State 10-2 on Saturday to hand the No. 2 Bulldogs their first series sweep of the season.

Connor Noland pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his first weekend win. Noland struck out five and did not allow a walk.

The Razorbacks (30-10, 12-6 SEC) scored eight runs in the sixth inning to blow the game open. Arkansas led just 1-0 at the start of the inning.

Mississippi State (32-9, 10-8) scored both of its runs in the ninth inning. Freshman JT Ginn suffered his second loss in a five-inning start.

The Razorbacks are scheduled to host Northwestern State on Tuesday for the first of a two-game series.

Arkansas 10, Mississippi State 2 Final

Arkansas completes the three-game sweep moves to 30-10 overall and an SEC Western-leading 12-6 in conference play. That is a game ahead of Texas A&M, who lost the first game of a doubleheader.

The Razorbacks scored 10 runs on 10 hits while Connor Noland (2-2, 4.60) got the win while lowering his ERA a full run.

Mississippi State (32-9, 10-8) came into this weekend leading the West, but could manage only six hits on Saturday with JT Ginn (7-2) getting the loss on the mound.

Arkansas 10, Mississippi State 2, Top 9th Inning

Kostyschock loaded the bases with one out and was pulled in favor of Zebulon Vermillion, who promptly gave up an two-run single to Rowdy Jordan.

Arkansas 10, Mississippi State 0, End 8th Inning

Trevor Ezell walked with one out, but didn't move from there and Arkansas will send Kostyshock out to finish it off.

Arkansas 10, Mississippi State 0, Middle 8th Inning

Noland retires the first two batters and then leaves to a standing ovation from the crowd, hugs and handshakes and pats on the back from his teammates.

His final line is 7 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, 4 hits, 4 Ks, no walks and one wild pitch. He threw 89 pitches with 60 of those being strikes.

Jacob Kostyshock comes in to get the final out of the 8th.

Arkansas 10, Mississippi State 0, End 7th Inning

Jack Kenley singled to left, moved to second and raced home on Casey Opitz' RBI single.

Arkansas 9, Mississippi State 0, Middle 7th Inning

Noland retires the shell-shocked Bulldogs 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh on only seven pitches.

He has now hurled career-highs of seven innings and 83 pitches, 56 for strikes. Noland has fanned four, allowed four hits and not walked any one.

Arkansas 9, Mississippi State 0, End 6th Inning

The Razorbacks have poured it on with eight runs in the sixth inning.

Casey Martin's double and a walk to Matt Goodheart have chased Mississippi State starter JT Ginn. It was the first walk of the game. Trysten Barlow came out to face Dominic Fletcher with no one out.

Barlow got Fletcher to ground out, but then walked Jack Kenley to loads the bases and hit Jordan McFarland to force in a run.

Casey Opitz' hot smash to third was booted and two runs came in to push it to 4-0.

Jacob Nesbit then launched a three-run homer to push the lead to 7-0.

Christian Franklin walked and rode home on Trevor Ezell's double and then Goodheart capped off the barrage with a run-scoring groundout.

Arkansas 1, Mississippi State 0, Middle 6th Inning

Noland allows a one-out single by Tanner Allen, but he whiffs Elijah MacNamee and catcher Casey Opitz guns down Allen at first base after he had drifted off the bag too far.

Noland now has gone a career-high six innings, tied his career-high with 76 pitches (51 strikes) in a game, allowed four hits, fanned four, thrown a wild pitch and not walked anyone.

Arkansas 1, Mississippi State 0, End 5th Inning

The Razorbacks jump out front as Jordan McFarland singles, moves up on Casey Opitz' ground out and races home on Jacob Nesbit's liner back into center field.

Arkansas 0, Mississippi State 0, Middle 5th Inning

For the second time in his young career, Connor Noland has pitched five innings as a starter.

Arkansas 0, Mississippi State 0, End 4th Inning

Connor Noland and JT Ginn both pitch 1-2-3 innings.

Noland has thrown 65 pitches, 42 for strikes. He has allowed three hits, thrown a wild pitch, and fanned three without issuing a free pass.

Arkansas 0, Mississippi State 0, End 3rd Inning

The Razorbacks went down in order in the third. Christian Franklin and Trevor Ezell grounded out, and Casey Martin struck out chasing a pitch outside the zone.

Mississippi State pitcher JT Ginn has only thrown 33 pitches today.

Arkansas 0, Mississippi State 0, Middle 3rd Inning

Gunner Halter singled to start the third inning, but Connor Noland sat down the Bulldogs' 1-2-3 hitters in order to strand Halter at third base. MSU has left three on base.

Arkansas 0, Mississippi State 0, End 2nd Inning

Jordan McFarland's one-out single was the Razorbacks' second hit of the day and he moved up to second on Casey Opitz' fielder's choice.

Ginn got out of the frame by getting Jacob Nesbit to ground out sharply to first.

Ginn has thrown 23 pitches, 18 for strikes while allowing two hits and fanning one.

Arkansas 0, Mississippi State 0, Middle 2nd Inning

Noland breezed through the second inning with a pair of strikeouts. He has thrown 27 pitches, 18 for strikes, while allowing two hits and fanning three.

Arkansas 0, Mississippi State 0, End 1st Inning

Mississippi State starter JT Ginn got Arkansas lead off man Trevor Ezell to fly out deep to left and fanned Casey Martin before Matt Goodheart singled.

Dominic Fletcher launched a deep fly to right center field, but center fielder Jake Mangum was able to make a sliding catch on the warning track.

Mississippi State catcher Dustin Skelton was shaken up when Martin fouled one off him, but he was able to stay in the game.

Arkansas 0, Mississippi State 0, Middle 1st Inning

Connor Noland retired Mississippi State lead off man Jake Mangum, but Jordan Westburg and Tanner Allen both followed up with singles to put runners at the corners. Noland then whiffed Elijah MacNamee before Allen stoled second.

Noland then got out of the inning unscathed when Justin Foscue lined out to Dominic Fletcher in center.

Pregame

It is a gorgeous day in Fayetteville. The sun is shining and the temperatures should be in the 70s for most of the game.

The pitching matchup is between a pair of freshmen whose seasons have gone much differently.

Mississippi State right hander JT Ginn reportedly turned down $2.5 million from the Dodgers last year and has been one of the best pitchers in the league this season. Ginn is 7-1 with a 3.35 ERA and has struck out 64 in 48 1/3 innings. He has only six walks.

Ginn has dealt with some shoulder soreness lately that has caused him to pitch only five innings in the past two series, so that might be something to watch. Arkansas already has made Mississippi State's bullpen throw a lot of innings this weekend, including seven last night.

Connor Noland will start for the Razorbacks. He pitched two scoreless innings against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday after failing to record an out in a five at-bat start last week against Vanderbilt. Noland (1-2, 5.60 ERA) has yet to earn a weekend win in nine starts.

Arkansas will be without star right fielder Heston Kjerstad today because he was ejected from last night's game for arguing balls and strikes. Matt Goodheart will start in right field today and Jordan McFarland will be the Razorbacks' designated hitter.

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