Mississippi State splits pair with Razorbacks

Published 12:30 am Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ross Mitchell kept Saturday from being a total loss for Mississippi State.

The junior left-hander threw his second complete game in three weekends as the Bulldogs salvaged a doubleheader split by beating Arkansas 5-1 at Dudy Noble Field.

Arkansas won the first game, 4-0. It was the first time Mississippi State (19-10, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) has been shut out this season.

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Mitchell (5-1), who entered the season as MSU’s best relief pitcher, drew a start for a third straight conference series. Fresh off the heels of wins over Vanderbilt and Georgia, he needed only 98 pitches to throw the team’s second complete game of the season. Mitchell allowed four hits, with two strikeouts and no walks.

“Ross really deserved to be a winner out there today,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. “He kept the ball down and got ground ball outs. Entering the ninth inning, he had only allowed two hits — a ball that sliced over the second baseman’s head and a routine play in which he failed to cover the bag. So it could have been a no-hitter going into the ninth inning.”

Derrick Armstrong went 3-for-4 for the Bulldogs, including an RBI single during a four-run sixth inning that provided all the offense Mitchell needed. Zack Randolph singled in two runs in the sixth, and Wes Rea also had an RBI single.

Mississippi State added another run in the seventh on an RBI single by Alex Detz.

Armstong had six hits in the doubleheader.

“We really hit some balls hard in the second game,” Cohen said. “In the first game, I thought we were attacking it a little too much. Arkansas is a great defensive team. They play the field really well. Our number of quality at-bats and hard-hit balls really went up in the second game.”

Mississippi State also hit it well in the first game, totaling 10 hits, but didn’t have anything to show for it. The Bulldogs left nine runners on base.

Jalen Beeks (4-2) threw eight innings and Michael Gunn finished up for Arkansas (18-8, 5-3).

Eric Fisher went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Joe Serrano had three hits.