Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Mississippi State starting pitcher Kendall Graveman tossed a complete game, giving up one run on five hits and striking out five as the 15th-ranked Bulldogs evened the weekend series against No. 13 Arkansas with a 4-1 win on Saturday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
The Razorbacks dropped to 20-8 overall and 5-3 in Southeastern Conference play, while Mississippi State improves to 23-7 and 3-5 in league competition.
Graveman (3-2) was outstanding on the mound for the Bulldogs, tossing the fourth complete game of his career. Graveman gave up just one run on five hits and struck out five over the nine innings.
Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek (2-2) took the loss after allowing three runs, just one earned, on three hits and striking out six in four innings of action.
Chris Oliver and Tyler Wright each pitched well out of the Razorback bullpen. Oliver struck out three and allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings, while Wright worked a scoreless frame.
Brian Anderson and Tyler Spoon each had two hits to lead Arkansas at the plate. Anderson also drove in a run in the loss. Anderson recorded his 13th multi-hit game of the season, while Spoon had his 10th multi-hit effort. Jacob Morris added the fifth Razorback hit of the contest.
Hunter Renfroe had a pair of hits and scored a run for Mississippi State. Alex Detz, Adam Frazier and Wes Rea each had a hit and a RBI in the win.
Arkansas struck first with a run in the bottom of the first. After the first two batters of the inning were retired, Spoon grounded a double down the right field line and Anderson followed with a single up the middle to score Spoon from second with the game's first run.
The score would stay 1-0 until the top of the fourth when the Bulldogs put together a two-run inning. C.T. Bradford reached on a fielding error by Dominic Ficociello to start the inning and advanced to second on a single to right by Renfroe. After a fly out to center by Detz, Rea tied the game with a RBI single into left field. With two out, Sam Frost was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Jacob Robson drew a walk to force in a run and make the score 2-1.
The Bulldogs would add single runs in the fifth and sixth. In the fifth, MSU scored on a RBI single by Detz and in the sixth, a sacrifice fly by Frazier brought in a run to put Mississippi State up 4-1.
Arkansas struggled to get anything going off Graveman as he retired 21 straight batters after allowing the two-out single to Anderson in the first. The Razorbacks put two runners on in both the eighth and ninth innings, but came up empty both times. Jacob Mahan grounded out to first to end the eighth inning and Ficociello struck out swinging with two runners on base to end the ball game.
The Razorbacks and Bulldogs will play game three of the series Sunday with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. Arkansas will start senior southpaw Randall Fant (1-0, 1.19), while Mississippi State has not announced a starter for the series finale.
Chad Crunk: Arkansas Media Relations