Matt Jones is the editor of the Hawgs Sports Network. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has a bachelor's and master's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas.
Razorbacks 2-hit Mississippi State to win series opener
Arkansas center fielder Jace Bohrofen (8) celebrates with teammates after he hit a home run during a game against Mississippi State on Friday, May 5, 2023, in Starkville, Miss.
Relief pitchers Cody Adcock and Gage Wood combined to throw four shutout innings and finish a two-hitter for Arkansas pitching Friday night.
The sixth-ranked Razorbacks won 6-2 at Mississippi State in the series opener at Dudy Noble Field.
Arkansas (34-12, 15-7 SEC) won its fourth consecutive game in SEC play and will try to win the series Saturday beginning at 6 p.m.
Wood pitched three scoreless innings to earn his team-best fifth save. He worked around a pair of two-out walks in the ninth and struck out Colton Ledbetter looking to end the game.
The freshman right-hander struck out 4, walked 3 and threw 33 of 58 pitches for strikes.
Adcock did not allow a base runner during a 13-pitch sixth inning.
Arkansas took a 4-2 lead on Brady Slavens’ two-run home run in the top of the sixth, which put left-hander Hagen Smith in line for the win. Making his first series-opening start since March 10, Smith battled command issues and tied a career high with five walks.
But the left-hander came through in crucial moments to keep Mississippi State from taking the lead. He walked Dakota Jordan and hit Kellum Clark with a pitch to start the fourth inning, but stranded runners at the corners when Amani Larry struck out looking.
Smith walked the first two batters in the fifth. The lead runner, Ross Highfill, was thrown out by catcher Parker Rowland trying to steal third base, but a passed ball by Rowland later in the inning allowed David Mershon to score and tie the game 2-2.
Jordan and Clark struck out swinging in the final at-bats against Smith, which stranded two base runners for the third consecutive inning. The Bulldogs were 2 for 12 with runners on base and 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, and stranded 9 base runners.
Smith (7-1) allowed 2 runs and 2 hits, and hit 2 batters. He threw 62 of 112 pitches for strikes, and recorded 8 strikeouts.
Arkansas took a 2-0 lead when Kendall Diggs led off with an eight-pitch walk and Jace Bohrofen followed with a home run against Mississippi State right-hander Cade Smith in the top of the first inning.
The Bulldogs (24-21, 6-16) pulled within 2-1 when Colton Ledbetter singled through the right side to score Larry in the third inning.
Slavens’ home run to right-center field came one pitch after Ben McLaughlin singled against Cade Smith in the top of the sixth. The Mississippi State starter allowed 4 runs, 5 hits and 2 walks, and struck out 8 in his 6-inning start. He threw 64 of 97 pitches for strikes.
Arkansas scored twice against Mississippi State reliever Cole Cheatham in the ninth inning. Caleb Cali doubled to lead off and scored on a wild pitch, and the Razorbacks went ahead 6-2 when Diggs singled to score Rowland, who drew a two-out walk.
Friday’s win was the fourth consecutive for Arkansas in Starkville, Miss., where the Razorbacks swept the Bulldogs two years ago. Arkansas improved to 10-1 against Mississippi State since 2019.
The Razorbacks assured themselves of at least a .500 record in SEC play for the sixth consecutive season. Arkansas has only accomplished that one other time since joining the league, from 2010-15.
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