A freshman pitcher carved his way through No. 2 Mississippi State’s lineup for 7 2/3 scoreless innings to lead the No. 10 Razorbacks to a 10-2 win as they swept their SEC opponent at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Arkansas (30-10, 12-6 SEC) moved up to the top spot in the SEC Western Division with a three-game sweep of the Bulldogs (32-9, 10-8 SEC).
“Great job all weekend,” Head coach Dave Van Horn said. “I’m just proud of these guys. Just a really good job by our team mentally to stay strong last weekend and it led to this great week we had.”
Freshman pitcher Connor Noland started for the Hogs and shut out the Bulldogs for a career-long 7 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and no walks with five strikeouts. It was his longest outing of the season by far, as he had not pitched more than five innings in a start this year. Noland’s career day is a huge bounceback from two starts ago when he gave up five runs without getting an out against No. 6 Vanderbilt. He earned his second win of the year and got his first win last week in a start where he pitched two innings against Arkansas Pine Bluff.
“Today, the story was Connor Noland,” said Van Horn. “I mean, he was just lights out.”
The Hogs got the first run of the game in the fifth inning on an RBI single from redshirt freshman third baseman Jacob Nesbit, who went 2-for-4 with a career-high four RBIs. Nesbit’s other three RBIs came on the biggest swing of the game, a three-run home run that gave the Hogs a 7-0 lead. Nesbit’s sixth inning bomb was only his second of the season, and it came in a massive eight-run sixth inning. Although he struggled in the first two games of the series, going 1-for-7 with an RBI, Nesbit was a big part of Saturday’s win.
With sophomore outfielder Heston Kjerstad suspended because of an ejection for arguing balls and strikes, junior utility player Jordan McFarland filled his spot and went 2-for-3 with an RBI. His lone RBI came with the bases loaded, as Bulldogs’ pitcher Trysten Barlow hit McFarland with a pitch to bring in a run.
The Hogs’ next game is the first of a two game midweek series starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Baum-Walker Stadium against Northwestern State University, with the second game starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
They host Tennessee this weekend with the first game of the series starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The Saturday game also starts at 6:30 p.m. and the Sunday game is at 4 p.m.
Sophomore shortstop Casey Martin: 5-for-13, 6 RBI, 3 BB
Noland: 7 ⅔ IP, 0 R, 4 H, 5 K
Redshirt junior pitcher Isaiah Campbell: 7 ⅔ IP, 2 R, 5 H, 0 BB, 10 K
7-8-9 Hitters: .344 AVG (11-32), 9 RBIs, 5 BB