STARKVILLE, Miss. - Ninth-ranked Arkansas pounded out 20 hits to complete its first-ever three-game series road sweep of Mississippi State at Dudy Noble Field Sunday afternoon. The Razorbacks built an early lead and blew past the Bulldogs, 13-3.
Arkansas won all three games of the weekend series to take over first place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division standings. The Razorbacks are now 26-6 overall and 9-3 in league play, while MSU fell to 16-16 and 3-9.
Ironically, the Bulldogs had won eight of their last 10 series played against the Razorbacks. For Arkansas, it was their first series sweep of MSU since taking all three games in 1999. Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee are the remaining SEC teams to have never swept a three-game series at Dudy Noble Field.
For a third straight day, the Razorbacks blew open a tight game in the late stages. UA held a 4-1 lead before striking for six scores in the seventh inning. The Bulldogs scored twice in the eighth inning before giving up three more scores in the ninth inning.
The big blow in the UA seventh inning was a grand slam by Brett Eibner. It was the second straight Sunday that the Razorbacks got a big lift from a grand slam.
Arkansas touched MSU started Trey Johnson for a pair of runs in the first inning. The first three Razorbacks collected hits with Zack Cox driving home a pair with a single to center field.
The Bulldogs scored in their half of the first inning. UA starter Randall Fant threw eight straight balls to walk Nick Vickerson and Russ Sneed to start the game. Vickerson stole third base and scored on a sacrifice-fly by Connor Powers.
Arkansas stretched the lead with single scores in the second and third innings. The Razorbacks took advantage of some more sloppy play by the MSU infield as the Bulldogs were again tagged with three errors on Sunday.
Still, Johnson (0-1) and Tyler Whitney in relief hung tough for the Bulldogs. Whitney was lifted with two outs in the sixth inning, after throwing three scoreless innings. Ben Bracewell finished that inning but did not survive the seventh inning, allowing four hits and six earned runs, including Eibner's slam - his ninth home run of the season.
Fant (3-0) settled down after his wildness in the opening inning. The true freshman did not walk another, hurling seven innings of two-hit baseball, allowing only that run in the first inning. Geoffrey Davenport worked the eighth inning, allowing an RBI-double to Vickerson and a sacrifice-fly to Sneed. Jordan Pratt retired the side in order in the ninth inning.
Vickerson finished with two of MSU's four hits.
Bo Bingham, Cox, Eibner and Tim Carver each had three hits for the Razorbacks.
MSU hosts South Alabama in a make-up game at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Dudy Noble Field.