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.
Diamond Hogs Notebook: Arkansas takes lead in series it once trailed by 15 games
Arkansas right fielder Kendall Diggs smiles during a game against Mississippi State on Saturday, May 6, 2023, in Starkville, Miss.
For the first time since 1966, Arkansas has a winning record in its baseball series against Mississippi State.
The Razorbacks’ 14-2 victory over the Bulldogs in seven innings Saturday gave Arkansas a 58-57 lead in the series.
That record is according to Mississippi State’s record book, which includes two games played between the teams in 1958. The Razorbacks’ record book does not include data before the 1960 season and lists a 56-57 record in the series.
After Arkansas won both games in 1958 by scores of 1-0 and 9-8, Mississippi State won 10 in a row between 1960-83 to take a commanding lead in the series.
By 1993, the Bulldogs owned an 18-3 lead in games against the Razorbacks, and Mississippi State led 56-48 after sweeping a series against Arkansas in 2018.
It has predominantly been a back-and-forth series since the Razorbacks joined the SEC, but Arkansas has been on a hot streak against Mississippi State in recent years. The Razorbacks have won 10 of the last 11 games between the teams.
Arkansas swept Mississippi State in 2019 and 2021, and won twice last year in Fayetteville.
“We’ve just played pretty well against them,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “I don’t know if there’s anything to it. You catch them at the right time or whatever; that’s kind of the way this game works a little bit.”
The Razorbacks have won five consecutive games at Dudy Noble Field dating to 2021.
Arkansas (35-12, 16-7 SEC) will have a winning SEC record for the sixth consecutive season.
Beginning with the 2017 season, the Razorbacks have an SEC record of 112-60.
It is the first time Arkansas has recorded six consecutive seasons with a winning SEC record. The next-longest streak for the Razorbacks was four seasons from 2012-15.
The Razorbacks had six winning records in SEC play in their first 20 seasons in the league.
Arkansas had 14 consecutive seasons with a winning Southwest Conference record from 1977-90.
Arkansas’ win, coupled with LSU’s 8-6 loss at Auburn, pulled the Razorbacks within one-half game in the SEC West race.
Both teams have seven games remaining, beginning with their respective series finales Sunday.
The Razorbacks have a much more difficult schedule on paper, with remaining series against South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
LSU (37-9, 16-6), which had an eight-game SEC winning streak snapped, is scheduled to close with series against Mississippi State and Georgia.
• The Razorbacks have a five-game SEC winning streak, which is their longest since 2021.
• Arkansas won its seventh game via run rule, but first in SEC play. Mississippi State has lost six times via run rule in SEC play, including twice in the past week to Arkansas and Tennessee.
• With 5 RBI, Kendall Diggs took the team lead with 48. Diggs passed Jared Wegner (44 RBI) who has not batted since April 11 with a broken left thumb.
• Brady Slavens has homered in back-to-back games for the fourth time in his career, and for the first time since games against LSU and Arkansas State in April 2022.
• The Razorbacks had four multi-run hits Saturday to bring their total to six during the series.
• Arkansas turned its 44th double play, which is most in the SEC and tied for fifth nationally.
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