STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - No word better describes the Mississippi State baseball team's weekend than super.
MSU completed a Super Bulldog Weekend three-game Southeastern Conference sweep with 5-3 and 7-5 victories over No. 3 Arkansas Saturday at Dudy Noble Field.
A season-best crowd of 10,147 saw the Bulldogs finish off their first three-game sweep of the season and their second straight home series win over a Top-5 team.
"It was a great weekend for Mississippi State," MSU head coach Gary Henderson said. "We showed a lot of growth and maturity. We really responded when things got tight in both games. You want a team to get better and you can see that from this team. We had some quality at-bats the entire series. On the mound, we made some quality pitches, deep in counts, late in the game, when it mattered most."
"We had an excellent crowd and there was a lot of excitement in the ballpark. This was a great weekend for the fans and for the team.
MSU improved to 22-19 overall and 8-10 in conference play, while Arkansas fell to 28-13 and 10-8. The Bulldogs enter their final four weeks of the regular season two games out of first place in the SEC Western Division standings.
GAME ONE: Mississippi State 5, Arkansas 3
Justin Foscue led a 10-hit attack with three hits as the Bulldogs clinched the series by winning Saturday's doubleheader opener.
On the mound, Ethan Small (4-3) set the tone by allowing six hits and one run (earned) with six strikeouts over six innings of work.
Keegan James and Zach Neff followed out of the bullpen, with Blake Smith snuffing an eighth inning threat and working out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning for his third save.
The Bulldogs built a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a Rowdey Jordan home run.
The Razorbacks tied the contest in the fourth inning before the Bulldogs took the lead for good with two scores in the fifth inning.
Marshall Gilbert began that inning with a base hit. After a sacrifice bunt and lineout, Luke Alexander followed with an RBI-double. Tanner Allen followed with an RBI-single.
The Bulldogs then stretched a 3-2 lead with two scores in the eighth inning.
A walk and hit batsman set the table. Foscue followed with a hit and later scored on an RBI-double by Elijah MacNamee. A wild pitch scored the other run in the frame.
GAME TWO: Mississippi State 7, Arkansas 5
After erasing a 5-0 deficit for a 6-5 victory in Friday's series opener, the Rally Dawgs were at it again the Saturday nightcap as they erased a 3-0 deficit to take the victory.
Down 4-2, the Bulldogs took the lead on four runs in the sixth inning.
Alexander singled and Allen doubled to start the at-bat. A sacrifice fly by Hunter Stovall scored on run and a groundout by Jordan Westburg scored another. MacNamee followed with an RBI-single and later scored on a passed ball.
A critical insurance score came in the seventh inning on an RBI-single by Alexander.
MSU finished with 11 hits. Jordan, Foscue, Allen and Alexander each had multiple hits.
Jacob Billingsley (3-2) threw six innings, allowing seven hits and four runs (three earned), with seven strikeouts. Cole Gordon followed with 1.2 innings of relief. Neff retired all four batters he faced for his first save as a Bulldog.
Next up for State will be its fourth-meeting of the season with in-state rival Ole Miss for the annual Governor's Cup at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. The Diamond Dawgs and Rebels will get underway with a 6:02 p.m. CT first pitch on SEC Network.