FAYETTEVILLE, AR (U of A)
– The University of Arkansas baseball team (26-17, 11-9) put together a pair of three-run innings and cruised to a 6-1 victory over Mississippi State (22-21, 6-14) in a record-setting Saturday evening at Baum Stadium.
The Razorbacks continue a torrid stretch in the month of April, having won 12 of 15 games, including seven of their last eight contests. Arkansas clinched its SEC-best fifth straight conference series with the victory, giving the Razorbacks five consecutive SEC series wins for the first time since the 2004 season when the team went on to advance to the College World Series.
Arkansas fans turned out in droves for the game and set the Baum Stadium record for paid attendance at 12,589, besting the previous mark of 11,742 last season against Auburn. The Razorbacks finished No. 2 in the country last year in attendance and have ranked in the nation's top five each of the last 10 seasons. The actual attendance of 10,837 is the third largest in the history of the stadium.
Dominic Taccolini set the tone early, tossing up zeros in the first four innings before the offense finally broke through in the fourth frame, using a two-out two-run double from Brett McAfee to put the Razorbacks on the board with a 2-0 lead. Carson Shaddy added to the lead with a bases loaded hit by pitch to cap the three-run frame.
After Mississippi State scored its lone run of the game in the top of the seventh, Arkansas came right back with a knockout punch in the bottom of the inning, scoring three more runs courtesy of RBI singles from Tyler Spoon and McAfee, while pinch hitter Chad Spanberger recorded an RBI with a groundout, sending the Razorbacks to their 12th victory in the month of April.
Taccolini (6-3) picked up the victory in 6.2 innings of work, allowing one run on four hits, while striking out five. Lance Phillips recorded the final out of the seventh inning, before James Teague worked a scoreless eighth and ninth inning to seal the win.
McAfee ended the day 2-for-4 at the plate with a career-high three runs batted in, while Spoon added two hits of his own, scored a run and drove one in. Andrew Benintendi saw his five-game hitting streak snapped, but continued to get on base as he worked two walks and scored two more runs.