FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Jalen Battles’ pair of homers blasted No. 2 Arkansas to a commanding 8-1 series-opening win over Mississippi State on Friday night at Baum-Walker Stadium.
The Razorbacks improved to 20-4 overall and 5-1 in SEC play with the win. Arkansas has now won seven consecutive games against Mississippi State (16-11, 3-4 SEC) and will look to clinch their seventh straight home series win over the Bulldogs tomorrow.
Arkansas took control of Friday night’s game early, scoring six runs in the bottom half of the second and never looking back. Battles’ two-run bomb spurred the festivities as his first home run of the day traveled 420 feet to the Hog Pen in left field.
RBI singles by Michael Turner and Chris Lanzilli followed and set the stage for Robert Moore’s two-out, two-RBI triple to right center, which extended the Hogs’ second-inning lead to 6-0. Battles’ second homer of the day came one inning later and the Razorback shortstop lined an 0-2 pitch over the wall in left, pushing Arkansas’ advantage to 7-0 in the third.
That run support was more than enough for Razorback starter Connor Noland, who turned in his fourth quality start and earned his fourth win of the season. The veteran right-hander struck out six over seven innings of four-hit, one-run ball as he kept Mississippi State, the defending national champions, off-balance all night long.
Arkansas’ bullpen was once again superb in the late innings. Zebulon Vermillion (1.0 IP, 1 SO) and Kole Ramage (1.0 IP, 1 SO) combined for two perfect innings in relief, retiring all six batters they faced to close out the game and secure the Razorbacks’ 8-1 win.
First pitch in game two of the series between Arkansas and Mississippi State is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2, on SEC Network+. True freshman left-hander Hagen Smith will take the mound as the Razorbacks go for their SEC-leading 13th consecutive series win.