LIVE UPDATES: Fans Counter Ballot-Stuffing Ahead of Arkansas vs Mississippi State

Khal Stephen, Peyton Holt, Arkansas baseball, Arkansas vs Mississippi State
photo credit: MSU Athletics / Baumology

FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas vs Mississippi State series will be the fans’ final chance, in the regular season at least, to prove Baum-Walker Stadium’s status as one of the best ballparks in the country.

The No. 5 Razorbacks are putting their 31-2 home record on the line against the No. 14 Bulldogs this weekend, beginning Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT and the game will be streamed on SEC Network-Plus.

Ace Hagen Smith is on the mound, which should give Arkansas better than a fighting chance to open the series with a win. About the only thing more dependable than the left-hander is fans on social media helping the Razorbacks win any and every poll.

Arkansas fans flexed their muscle earlier in the day by helping Baum-Walker Stadium surge past East Carolina’s home ballpark in a “Best College Baseball Stadium Bracket” run by the official NCAA Baseball account on Twitter:

Why is this notable? Well, the Razorbacks held a slight edge until early this morning when ECU randomly picked up several thousand votes to swing the poll in its favor – by quite a bit, too. At one point, the Pirates had about two-thirds of the votes.

These kind of polls are meaningless and just turn into popularity contests rather than something to actually determine the best ballpark in the country, but it was still surprising to see Arkansas – a fanbase that once got Peyton Hillis on the cover of Madden – getting beat so badly in such a poll.

It seemed fishy and several Arkansas fans theorized it was done by someone purchasing “bot” votes on behalf of ECU. Apparently, anyone with money can buy votes to stuff the ballot – if you really want to spend money on such a thing.

Whomever did that was probably shocked to check back and see that the Razorbacks slowly chipped away at that lead and eventually won 57.6% of the vote. Don’t ever underestimate the power of Arkansas fans.

Hopefully some of the good mojo will carry over to the baseball team, which is still trying to lock up a top-8 national seed to maximize the number of chances fans will get to watch baseball at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Follow along below for updates from Game 1 of the Arkansas vs Mississippi State series…

(READ NEXT: Can Arkansas win it all with a scuffling offense? Our research might surprise you.)

LIVE UPDATES – Arkansas vs Mississippi State (Game 1)

Pregame Tidbits

Connor Husjak – who is hitting .349 with 8 home runs and 41 RBIs – is not in the starting lineup for Mississippi State. It’s unclear why he is out.

On the flip side, Kendall Diggs is not in the starting lineup for Arkansas. His status was up in the air because of a lingering shoulder injury. He is, however, on the 27-man roster, which means he’s theoretically available to play.

The Razorbacks have made several changes to their lineup. Peyton Holt has moved up to the leadoff spot, with Peyton Stovall batting second. They are also starting Jayson Jones in left field, giving him just his second SEC start of the year (the first was Game 2 of the Missouri series). Ty Wilmsmeyer is in center, with Holt starting in right.

T-1st: Mississippi State 0, Arkansas 0

Chance and Mershon started the inning about as well as you could hope for Mississippi State, drawing back-to-back walks and forcing Smith to throw 16 pitches. However, the lefty responded by striking out the next three batters on 14 pitches. It was a 30-pitch frame, but no damage done.

B-1st: Mississippi State 0, Arkansas 0

The Hogs went down in order in first, with Stephen throwing only 12 pitches.

T-2nd: Mississippi State 0, Arkansas 0

After a 30-pitch first inning, Smith needed only six pitches in the second. He got the first two batters on pitch and then struck out Kohler.

B-2nd: Mississippi State 0, Arkansas 0

Stephen had to throw a couple more pitches in the second, but it was still only 14. He struck out Aloy and McLaughlin before getting White to pop out. Arkansas has gone six up, six down with six noncompetitive at bats.

T-3rd: Mississippi State 0, Arkansas 0

Smith gave up a couple of hits, but both of them were singles and he stranded the runners by getting Hines to line out to first. He’s up to 54 pitches through three innings.

B-3rd: Mississippi State 0, Arkansas 0

Helfrick led off the inning with a single, but Arkansas couldn’t do anything with it. He eventually stole second, but Holt popped out to strand him there. Through three innings, Stephen has thrown 41 pitches.

T-4th: Mississippi State 0, Arkansas 0

The Bulldogs went down in order in the fourth, with Smith notching a couple more strikeouts. He’s up to 63 pitches.

B-4th: Arkansas 3, Mississippi State 0

After a pop out by Stovall to start the inning, Sprague-Lott and Aloy reached on back-to-back singles. Sprague-Lott also tagged up to third on McLaughlin’s fly out to center, which set up a run-scoring wild pitch. It didn’t matter for Mississippi State, though, because White followed with a 408-foot home run that would have scored him anyways. Instead, it was a two-run bomb that made it 3-0.

T-5th: Mississippi State 3, Arkansas 3

Smith has struggled with his command again in the fifth. He issued a pair of four-pitch walks to load the bases after a leadoff single by Kohler. The second of those walks came with two outs, but this time, Hines made him pay by ripping a bases-clearing double down the right field line. That ties it up. Smith eventually got out of it with another strikeout, his 11th, but he’s up to 94 pitches.

B-5th: Mississippi State 3, Arkansas 3

Arkansas went down in order in the fifth. It’s the third 1-2-3 inning by Stephen, who is only at 70 pitches through five innings.

T-6th: Mississippi State 3, Arkansas 3

Hagen Smith’s day is done. His final line: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 11 K, 94 pitches (58 strikes). Right-hander Christian Foutch is now pitching for the Hogs.

Holt misread a 108 mph line drive by Downs, but managed to adjust his body and make a very tough catch while jumping and falling to the ground. The next two batters grounded out, giving Foutch an 8-pitch, 1-2-3 inning.

B-6th: Arkansas 4, Mississippi State 3

The Razorbacks are back on top thanks to a 421-foot homer by Sprague-Lott into the Hog Pen. Aloy kept it going with a 107 mph single up the middle, but he was stranded on first.

T-7th: Arkansas 4, Mississippi State 3

Foutch gave up a leadoff single and then issued a one-out walk, prompting a pitching change. Right-hander Gabe Gaeckle will inherit the runners and needs to get eight outs if he’s going to close it out. He got out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts of Jordan and Hines.

B-7th: Arkansas 4, Mississippi State 3

For the fourth time tonight, Arkansas went 1-2-3. Aside from the two homers, Stephen has been great for Mississippi State. He’s thrown 103 pitches, though, so that may be it for him.

T-8th: Mississippi State 5, Arkansas 4

Gaeckle got a ground out to start the inning and then Downs reached on an error (which could have been scored an infield single and an error to move him to second). The freshman had pinch hitter Nolan Stevens down 0-2, but then plunked him. He then walked the 8 and 9 hole batters, with the latter bringing in the tying run. Mississippi State took the lead on a sacrifice fly by Chance. Gaeckle walked the next batter to load the bases again and that’s it for him.

The new pitcher is right-hander Will McEntire. In a full count, Jordan was called out on strikes.

B-8th: Arkansas 7, Mississippi State 5

Mississippi State finally turned to its bullpen in the eighth, bringing in right-hander Tyler Hardin. Holt and Sprague-Lott reached on singles sandwiched around a strikeout of Stovall. Aloy followed with a game-tying RBI single – a 105 mph grounder back up the middle. McLaughlin drew a walk to load the bases and White delivered a go-ahead two-run single.

Kendall Diggs pinch hit for Helfrick and hit a deep fly ball to center, but it was caught on the track. McLaughlin tagged up on the play. Runners were stranded on the corners, though, as Jones grounded out to end the inning.

T-9th: Arkansas 7, Mississippi State 5

McEntire issued a leadoff walk to start the ninth. Larry followed with a single, putting the tying runs on base. McEntire was ahead of each batter, 1-2 and 0-2, respectively. He was also up 0-2 against Downs, but he eventually hit a slow dribbler and Arkansas couldn’t make the play. It’s ruled an infield hit and the bases are loaded. That’s it for McEntire. Right-hander Gage Wood is next out of the pen.

Wood got Chester to pop out for the first out of the inning. Stovall caught it on the grass in shallow center. Kohler then looked at strike three for the second out. Long popped out to first to end the game. Wood is fired up.

FINAL – Arkansas 7, Mississippi State 5

Starting Lineups

Mississippi State BaseballArkansas Baseball
1. Bryce Chance – LF1. Peyton Holt – RF
2. David Mershon – SS2. Peyton Stovall – 2B
3. Dakota Jordan – CF3. Jared Sprague-Lott – 3B
4. Hunter Hines – 1B4. Wehiwa Aloy – SS
5. Amani Larry – DH5. Ben McLaughlin – 1B
6. Aaron Downs – RF6. Hudson White – C
7. Ethan Pulliam – 2B7. Ryder Helfrick – DH
8. Logan Kohler – 3B8. Jayson Jones – LF
9. Johnny Long – C9. Ty Wilmsmeyer – CF
Pitching: RHP Khal StephenPitching: LHP Hagen Smith

How to Watch Arkansas vs Mississippi State (Game 1)

Date: Friday, May 10

Location: Baum-Walker Stadium (Fayetteville, Ark.)

First Pitch: 6:30 p.m. CT

TV/Stream: SEC Network-Plus


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