A masterful performance from redshirt junior starting pitcher Isaiah Campbell led the No. 10 Razorbacks to a 5-3 victory over No. 2 Mississippi State with the help of key hits from sophomore shortstop Casey Martin and junior outfielder Dominic Fletcher.
Campbell struck out 10 Bulldogs through 7 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits without registering a walk. He allowed his first home run of the season to the Bulldogs’ Rowdey Jordan in the fifth, then retired the next nine batters as he cruised through the sixth and seventh innings. Campbell’s record improved to 7-1 on the year with an ERA of 2.44 and an opponent average of .208.
“I thought he was outstanding,” Razorback coach Dave Van Horn said. “No walks, 10 strikeouts, I mean, what more could you want? And limited one of the best hitting teams, if not the best hitting team in the league, to five hits. That’s a great outing.”
Mississippi State southpaw starter Ethan Small was impressive early, pitching four flawless innings until Fletcher ended his perfect-game bid with a single in the fifth. Fletcher led the Hogs in hits with three, including a two-run homer in the ninth inning, to give the Hogs a 5-2 lead and two key insurance runs.
The Hogs had not gotten into scoring position until the sixth inning when a walk, a single and a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt by redshirt senior first baseman Trevor Ezell moved runners to second and third with one out. Martin followed Ezell, clearing the bases with a two-run double into the left-field gap to give the Hogs their first lead of the night at 2-1. Sophomore utility player Matt Goodheart followed Martin with an RBI single as the Hogs extended their lead to 3-1.
Junior closer Matt Cronin entered with two outs in the eighth and got three of his four outs via punchout to grab his eighth save of the season, despite giving up a solo home run in the ninth.
The Hogs play the second of the three-game series against Mississippi State at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Baum-Walker Stadium with the opportunity to win the series. They will play the final game of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday.