MSU snapped a six-game losing streak in league play by salvaging the final game of Sunday’s doubleheader and the weekend series. The Bulldogs are now 15-12 overall and 3-6 in conference play, good for a two-way tie with Alabama for fifth place in the Western Division. Ninth-ranked Arkansas fell to 19-5 overall and 8-1 in league play.
Ironically, the Razorbacks won a home series from the Bulldogs for the first time since 1999. MSU had taken the last two series from Arkansas, last losing a series to the Razorbacks in 2006 in Starkville.
Arkansas clinched the series by winning Sunday’s opener, 5-1.
Routt, a native of Silver Spring, Maryland, threw a complete game for the second straight weekend in conference play. This time around, Routt enjoyed much more offensive support than in last week’s 4-0 loss at Georgia.
Routt (3-1) threw all seven innings, allowing nine hits and four runs (three earned), with seven strikeouts and three walks, while throwing 110 pitches. Routt has now worked seven or more innings in three of his six starts this season.
Leading 6-4, a double play proved critical in helping Routt work out of the fifth inning. An inning later with a 7-4 lead, a called third strike snuffed another threat with a pair of Razorbacks being stranded.
The Bulldogs then put the contest away with five insurance scores in the top of the seventh inning. Grant Hogue had an RBI-single, Ryan Collins drew a bases-loaded walk and Russ Sneed closed out the scoring with a two-out, three-run single in that at-bat.
MSU struck quickly in the nightcap, scoring four times in the first inning. UA starter Drew Smyly (2-1) was chased in that inning. Hogue started things with a leadoff single and later scored on an RBI-double by Connor Powers. A walk and infield error loaded the bases. Another walk to Scott DeLoach forced in a run. Cody Freeman chased Smyly with a two-run single.
Arkansas answered with a pair of scores in the first inning. The Razorbacks scored again in the third inning but could get no closer the remainder of the way.
The Bulldogs pounded out 12 hits off of six Razorback pitchers. Hogue enjoyed his first four-hit day with the Maroon and White. Sneed had three hits and a career-high 5 RBIs. Brent Brownlee also had multiples hits, including his first career home run.
Arkansas finished with nine hits. Multiple hitter Andy Wilkins hit his ninth home run of the season for the Razorbacks.
MSU actually got back-to-back complete games Sunday. Junior left-hander Tyler Whitney also went the distance and was the tough-luck loser in a 5-1 setback.
Whitney (2-2) threw the team’s second complete game of the season. The Lakeland, Tenn., native allowed seven hits and five runs (all earned), with four walks and three strikeouts.
The Bulldogs grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning, thanks to an RBI-single by Ryan Duffy.
However, MSU made two different outs on the base paths and could not expand on that early lead.
The Razorbacks stormed back with two runs in the third inning, one score in the fourth inning and two more runs in the fifth inning.
Arkansas grabbed the lead on back-to-back singles by Travis Sample and Wilkins in the third inning. Brett Eibner homered in the fourth inning. Collin Kuhn had an RBI-single and Eibner hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
Winning pitcher T.J. Forrest (2-1) worked five-plus innings, allowing four hits and one run (earned), with four strikeouts and three walks.
Thanks to a double play ball, Mike Bolsinger faced only five batters in the final two innings to earn his first save.
The Bulldog host Mississippi Valley State at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday before traveling to Louisiana-Monroe for a 6:30 p.m. start Wednesday.
Conference play resumes next weekend when Auburn visits Dudy Noble Field.