Razorbacks Salvage a Win Sunday, 9-3

Jeff Flagg

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Razorback ace Nick Schmidt scattered nine hits and struck out nine Sunday afternoon, leading No. 3 Arkansas (25-10, 8-4 SEC) to a 9-3 win over No. 23 Mississippi State (21-8, 7-5 SEC) and blocking the Bulldogs' attempt at a series sweep. The Bulldogs claimed the first two games of the weekend 11-9 and 2-1 to capture their third conference series in four weekends.

Mississippi State was unable to cash in on a pair of scoring opportunities against Schmidt, loading the bases in both the first and eighth innings only to see the Razorbacks work out of the problems with inning-ending double plays.

Tim Smalling's three-run home run off Bulldog starter Josh Johnson in the second inning staked Schmidt to an early lead. Arkansas struck for three more runs in the fourth after Ricky Bowen had replaced Johnson on the mound. Bowen and a second Bulldog relief pitcher, Jesse Carver, avoided the big inning the remainder of the game but gave up single tallies in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

The Bulldogs did their scoring in two innings. Brandon Turner reached base on a two-out single up the middle of the infield and Jeff Flagg, the hitting star of the day for the Bulldogs, doubled Turner home. Two innings later Flagg ripped a two-run home run to left, his third extra-base hit of the game and his fifth of the weekend. Flagg also doubled down the left field line in the second, finishing the afternoon with a career-high three hits and three RBI.

Brandon Turner (.432) had a pair of singles Sunday and extended his current hitting streak to 10 games, his second double-digit hitting streak of the year.

Arkansas piled up 15 hits, including eight doubles. Danny Hamblin went 4-for-4 with three doubles and Matt Willard laced three two-baggers in a 3-for-3 outing. Sean Jones also had three hits for the Razorbacks.

Johnson (2-2) took the loss. He was charged with four runs on six hits with two walks. Bowen gave up three runs on five hits over 1-1/2 innings of relief while Carver allowed two runs on four hits in three innings of relief. Each of the three Bulldog pitchers registered two strikeouts.

Schmidt, who now shares the SEC lead of seven wins with South Carolina's Harris Honeycutt, gave up nine hits, including all four of the Bulldogs' extra-base knocks. Jess Todd entered the game in the eighth and with a strikeouts and a double-play grounder got out of the bases-loaded, no-out jam he inherited from Schmidt. Todd retired the Bulldogs in order in the ninth to close out the game.

The Bulldogs have won seven of their last eight series against the Razorbacks and nine of their last 11 games in Fayetteville.

Mississippi State continues its four-state, nine-game road run in Mobile, Ala., Tuesday, taking on the South Alabama Jaguars (17-15) in a 6 p.m. contest at Stanky Stadium.

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