LIVE UPDATES: UA Pitchers Look to Right the Ship in Arkansas vs Mississippi State Rubber Match

Hudson White, Arkansas baseball, Arkansas vs Mississippi State
photo credit: Arkansas Athletics

FAYETTEVILLE — For the first time this season, No. 5 Arkansas (41-10, 18-8 SEC) will play a rubber match at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Following an 8-5 loss on Saturday, the Razorbacks will look to bounce back against No. 14 Mississippi State (33-17, 14-11 SEC) to avoid dropping back-to-back weekend series. Strangely, Arkansas’ biggest obstacle the past two weekends hasn’t been Kentucky or the Bulldogs – it’s been itself.

After entering the South Carolina series three weeks ago ranked in the top 10 nationally for fewest walks allowed, the Razorback pitching staff’s command has slipped recently. Over its last 14 games, Arkansas has given away 5.65 walks per nine innings – which would rank 240th out of 295 Division 1 teams.

Ouch.

Arkansas pitchers surrendered a combined 19 walks across the first two games of the series. In fact, in both games, Mississippi State has drawn more walks than they have hits. The Hogs were able to overcome their pitching struggles on Friday behind a resilient effort from Hagen Smith and some clutch hitting from Hudson White, who drove in four runs.

On Saturday, however, the glaring issues were too much. In just the first four innings of the game, Arkansas gave away nine free passes as the Bulldogs built up an 8-0 lead that they never let go of.

The loss forces a rubber match where the Razorback pitchers will attempt to find the zone consistently again. Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn will hand the ball to lefty Mason Molina as the Sunday starter once again, after some debate on who would get the nod given the resurgence of Gage Wood in recent weeks.

“That was just a huge plus,” Van Horn said after Wood’s outing against Kentucky. “I talked about that after the game. I mean, Gage didn’t just eat up innings, he’s getting ready to take somebody’s job. I loved what I saw.”

That quote led to some speculation that there might be a change to the rotation this weekend. Instead, Van Horn will stick with the norm and give the ball to Molina. Wood remained in his usual bullpen role and shined once again, punctuating Arkansas’ series-opening win by escaping a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the 9th inning.

The last three weeks have been a rocky road for Molina. He has failed to make it out of the fourth inning in each of his last two starts, walking ten batters across the pair of outings. The junior also had an ankle injury sandwiched in between that caused him to miss his scheduled start against Florida.

With the series on the line and the staff as a whole struggling, he’ll look to get back on track against the Bulldogs.

LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs. Mississippi State (Game 3)

Pregame Tidbits

Mississippi State coach Chris Lemonis will give the ball to junior left-hander Pico Kohn, who has posted a 3.75 ERA across 12 innings of work. This will be his sixth appearance and his fifth start of the season. Kohn will square off with Molina on the bump.

Van Horn has tweaked the lineup once again, as Peyton Holt is back in center field with Ty Wilmsmeyer on the bench. True freshman Ryder Helfrick will serve as the designated hitter, and Hudson White is back behind the dish after his terrific performance on Friday. Kendall Diggs remains in the lineup after his return from injury, and Jayson Jones earns another SEC start in left field.

The game will begin on SEC Network Plus, and shift to SEC Network after the conclusion of Kentucky vs. Florida, which is currently in extra innings.

T-1st: Mississippi State 0, Arkansas 0

  • Chance grounds out to third.
  • Mershon singles to center field.
  • Jordan strikes out looking
    • Mershon stole second.
  • Hines flies out to end a quick first inning for Molina.

B-1st: Mississippi State 5, Arkansas 0

  • Holt rips the first pitch 108 mph for a base hit.
  • Stovall flies out to center.
  • Sprague-Lott gets jammed, and pops out to the right side.
  • Aloy hits a 104 mph fly ball to center, but it’s right at Jordan for the third out.

T-2nd: Mississippi State 4, Arkansas 0

  • Molina issues his first walk of the day to start the inning.
    • That’s Arkansas’ 20th free pass of the weekend.
  • Kohler smacks the first pitch through the hole for a base hit.
  • Downs’ liner skips off Sprague-Lott’s glove and into the corner. It’s a fair ball, and a double that scores Larry. What could have been a double play is instead the opener for the Bulldogs.
  • Pulliam crushes a three-run shot to extend the lead. That’s his first career college home run.
    • That’ll do it for Molina, as he ends the day with more earned runs (4) than outs recorded (3).
  • Now pitching for Arkansas: RHP Gage Wood
  • The nightmare inning continues, as Powell smokes a 109 mph solo homer to make it a five-run lead. That’s his first home run of the season.
  • Chance hits a weak infield popup, and the Hogs finally have the first out.
  • Mershon chops it to McLaughlin, and he flips it to Wood for out.
  • Jordan hits a grounder past Aloy for a base hit.
  • Hines strikes out swinging to finally end the frame.

B-2nd: Mississippi State 5, Arkansas 0

  • McLaughlin pounds a chopper into the right side of the infield for the first out.
  • Helfrick sends the payoff pitch over the third baseman’s head for a standup double.
  • White flies out into foul territory.
  • Diggs strikes out swinging, and the Hogs strand another runner.

T-3rd: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 0

  • Larry leads off once again for State, this time grounding out to Stovall.
  • Wood issues a walk to Kohler on the payoff pitch.
  • Downs hits a tough chopper towards Sprague-Lott. He keeps it in the infield, but there’s no play at first.
  • Pulliam’s good day continues, as Stovall can’t field the liner cleanly. It skips into the outfield, and Kohler comes around to score.
    • Matt Hobbs comes out for a mound visit with Wood.
  • Wood gets the strikeout he needs, as Powell goes down swinging.
  • Chance flies out into foul territory to end the inning.

B-3rd: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 0

  • Jones strikes out swinging.
  • Holt flies out to right.
  • Stovall grounds out to the pitcher and the Hogs to down in order.

T-4th: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 0

  • Wood strikes Mershon out to start the frame.
  • Jordan works the count full, and Wood hits him with a slider.
  • Sprague-Lott backtracks into foul territory and catches the second out.
  • Larry rips a hard grounder to third, and Sprague-Lott makes a nice play to retire the side.

B-4th: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 1

  • Sprague-Lott gets hit by the pitch on a full count.
  • Kohn gets Aloy to strike out swinging.
  • McLaughlin singles.
  • A wild pitch allows both runners to move up, now on second and third.
  • Helfrick grounds out to short, and Sprague-Lott comes in to score.
  • White strikes out to end the frame.

T-5th: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 1

  • Now pitching for Arkansas: RHP Christian Foutch
  • Kohler singles to center field.
  • Downs grounds into a 6-4-3 double play.
  • Pulliam ropes a double into the gap.
  • Powell grounds out to third, and Foutch gets out of the inning clean.

B-5th: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 4

  • Now pitching for Mississippi State: RHP Karson Ligon
  • Diggs works the count full and draws a leadoff walk.
  • Jayson Jones launches a two-run home run into the Hog Pen to slice the deficit.
  • Holt ropes a fly ball to center that Jordan really should have caught, but it drops in and he gets to second base.
  • Stovall grounds out to the right side, and Holt moves over to third.
  • The second RBI groundout of the day comes on Sprague-Lott’s dribbler towards third base that scores Holt.
  • Aloy pops out to the third baseman to end the inning.

T-6th: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 4

  • Now pitching for Arkansas: RHP Will McEntire
  • Chance drops a single down in center field.
  • Mershon’s sac bunt moves the runner over.
  • Jordan flies out, and Chance tags up and moves to third.
  • Van Horn moves to intentionally walk Hines.
  • McEntire gets a big strikeout on Larry to end the frame.

B-6th: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 8

  • Now pitching for Mississippi State: RHP Gavin Black
  • Black starts his outing with a four-pitch walk to McLaughlin.
  • Helfrick swings through a breaking ball for a K.
  • Hudson White launches a two-run bomb over the left field wall, and this game is tied. The Hogs have battled all the way back.
  • Diggs strikes out swinging, but that’ll do it for Black’s outing.
  • Now pitching for the Bulldogs: RHP Cam Schuelke
  • Jones draws a walk, then steals second on the very next pitch.
  • Peyton Holt blasts a no-doubter into the Hog Pen for a two-run homer to give Arkansas its first lead of the game. That’s eight unanswered runs for the Hogs.
  • Stovall lines out to left to end the inning, but the damage is done.

T-7th: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 8

  • Kohler hits a popup to second base to end the inning.
  • McEntire issues a walk to Downs.
  • Pulliam flies out to right field, as Diggs makes a tough run to make the catch.
  • Powell draws the walk, but Pulliam tried to steal second on what ended up being ball four. He overslid the bag, and Stovall tagged him out for a strange third out.

B-7th: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 9

  • Sprague-Lott gets a hold of one, just missing a home run on a ball that hit near the top of the wall. He stumbled rounding first, but still gets in to second safely with a leadoff double.
  • Aloy grounds out to third, but Sprague-Lott moves up on the throw.
  • Now pitching for the Bulldogs: RHP Tyson Hardin
  • McLaughlin hits one to the warning track in left. Chance makes the catch, but Sprague-Lott tags and scores to extend the league.
  • Helfrick pops out to the shortstop, and the side is retired.

T-8th: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 9

  • One pitch and one out for Gaeckle, as Chance flies out.
  • Mershon singles into center.
  • Jordan cues up a tailor-made double play ball, but Stovall bobbles the exchange. They get the lead runner, but Jordan’s safe at first.
  • Gaeckle sits Hines down with a swinging strikeout, and that’s another scoreless frame for the Arkansas bullpen.

B-8th: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 9

  • White pops out to the catcher in foul territory.
  • Diggs strikes out swinging.
  • Jones grounds out to second, and the Hogs go down in order.

T-9th: Mississippi State 6, Arkansas 9

  • Sprague-Lott charges in on the grounder and throws out Larry for the first out.
  • Gaeckle blows a 95 mph fastball past Kohler for a swinging strikeout.
  • Downs keeps the Bulldogs alive with a base hit into left field.
    • Michael O’Brien in as a pinch runner, as Downs picked up an injury running to first.
    • O’Brien takes second base with no throw from White.
  • Gaeckle issues a walk to Pulliam, and the tying run comes to the plate with runners on first and second.
    • Matt Hobbs comes out for a mound visit.
  • Gaeckle strikes Powell out looking to slam the door and secure the series for Arkansas.

FINAL: Arkansas 9, Mississippi State 6

Starting Lineups

Mississippi State BaseballArkansas Baseball
1. Bryce Chance – LF1. Peyton Holt – CF
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. Logan Kohler – 3B6. Ryder Helfrick – DH
7. Aaron Downs – RF7. Hudson White – C
8. Ethan Pulliam – 2B8. Kendall Diggs – RF
9. Joe Powell – C9. Jayson Jones – LF
Pitching: LHP Pico KohnPitching: LHP Mason Molina

How to Watch Arkansas vs. Mississippi State (Game 3)

Date: Sunday, May 12

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

First Pitch: 2 p.m. CT

TV/Streaming: SEC Network

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