Arkansas 5, Miss State 4 (Final)

Trevor Stephan (3-0, 0.75 ERA) retired State 1-2-3 in the top of the first.

In the Arkansas first against State pitcher Peyton Plumlee (2-0, 1.88), Jake Arledge cracked a liner just inside the bag at first, into the right field corner for a leadoff double. Chad Spanberger hit a sharp grounder to second for out one that moved Arledge to third. Luke Bonfield walked. Grant Koch, after taking two strikes that were border line on the outside part of the plate, hit into a weak double play grounder to second.

In the MSU 2nd, Brent Rooker (.420) lined a single between the third baseman and shortstop. Luke Alexander’s sac bunt attempt was muffed by Stephan, ruled a hit. (I thought he screwed the play up with Matt Burch charging at third. Both runners moved up on Elijah MacNamee’s bunt. Brant Blaylock’s ground out to shortstop scored Rooker for a 1-0 lead by MSU. Tanner Poole ended the inning with a pop to center.

Arkansas reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the second. Dominic Fletcher rifled a single to right to lead off the inning. Carson Shaddy followed with a 2-run homer. It was a line drive into the Arkansas bullpen. Eric Cole walked and Jax Biggers put down a bunt single. Spanberger fouled off three 1-2 pitches before smashing a 3-run homer far over the MSU bullpen in right. There is no wind. It’s 5-1 Arkansas in the second. That ended Plumlee’s night. He gave up five earned runs. He had given up five earned runs in his first 24 innings ahead of Saturday night. Denver McQuary came on in relief. Bonfield doubled and Koch walk, but the inning ended on Fletcher’s ground out.

In the MSU third, Trevor Stephan got Jake Mangum looking for the second time on the night. Of note, Stephan has hit 97 mph once and 95-96 four or five times. He had Cody Brown 1-2, then walked him. Ryan Gridley hit a bouncer just out of Spanberger’s reach at first for a single. Brent Rooker lifted a bloop single to center. Fletcher was playing deep. Brown scored to make it 5-2. Alexander’s grounder could have gotten Stephan out of the inning. Biggers flipped to Shaddy, but the throw to first was high and wide off the fence in front of the MSU dugout for an error. Gridley scored from second on the play. McNamee struck out swinging to end the inning.

In the Arkansas third, McQuary faced the minimum. Shaddy singled, but was out stealing. Burch and Cole were out on grounders.

Stephan got the bottom third of the MSU lineup 1-2-3 in the 4th. McQuary did the same to the Hogs in the fourth. Biggers popped to center. Arledge was out trying to bunt. Spanberger was called out.

State did not score in the fifth. Stephan made it through the tough front end of the MSU order. Mangum singled to lead off the frame. After Brown popped up and Gridley struck out, Mangum stole second with Rooker, the cleanup man, at bat. Rooker fanned with Koch holding a foul tip. Stephan completed five innings with 80 pitches.

Arkansas went 1-2-3 in the fifth.

MSU got a swinging bunt single by MacNamee, but Blaylock struck out and Lovelady popped out to the catcher.

Arkansas put two runners on in the sixth, but did not score.

In the MSU seventh, Poole reached on a one-out single to center. Mangum hit a routine bouncer to Spanberger at first, but it went under his glove for an error with Poole racing to third. That ended Stephan’s night at 98 pitches. Barrett Loseke relieved. Gridley walked to load the bases. That brought in Cannon Chadwick to pitch to Rooker. Rooker lifted a pop-up in foul territory near the tarp down the right field line. Spanberger caught it, with Poole tagging and scoring on what would be a sacrifice fly to make it 5-4. The Hogs appealed that the runner at first left early. The umpires, after a long discussion, ruled safe. Chadwick struck out Luke Alexander to end the MSU 7th.

Arkansas went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

In the eighth, Chadwick mowed down the Bulldogs 1-2-3, striking out the last two batters. Arkansas did not reach in the 8th.

Chadwick recorded two strikeouts in the ninth, including Cody Brown to end the game as Arkansas won, 5-4. The Hogs did not get a hit after taking a 5-1 lead in the third. Attendance was 6,573.

Great game but umpires blew it in the 7th the guy on first left way to early and yet they don’t go to review. Entire crew should be suspended. Van Horn would have been livid if that had cost us the game and rightfully so!

The call that got me was Cole’s laser down the 3rd base line. It appeared to hit the top of 3rd base as it went by, but the umpire stationed down the left field line ruled it foul. Watch Vitello’s (he’s in the 3rd based coaching box) reaction to that call.

The runner did not leave early. He tagged, then stopped. The Arkansas players saw him stop after Spanberger bobbled the ball trying to get out the glove. The players in the interview room saw the tape review after the game and said they were wrong. He tagged. Then stopped. The Arkansas coaches and players did not know for sure. But when they saw the game tape after the game all said the call was right.

The ball that was called foul was very close. Real time, I thought it was fair. After watching replay, I wasn’t sure. Did it clip the corner of the bag? Not sure. Van Horn thought it was fair. Clearly, Vitello did because he slammed down his helmet. I was surprised umps didn’t eject him. MSU coaches thought he should have been.