Junior right-hander Dakota Hudson threw his second straight shutout Thursday night as No. 4 Mississippi State beat Arkansas 7-0 in a Southeastern Conference baseball game played before a crowd of 6,822 at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU improved to 38-14-1 overall and 19-9 in league play, while Arkansas fell to 26-27 and 7-21. The Bulldogs have won nine straight games, while the Razorbacks have dropped 11 straight. With Thursday night's win, the Bulldogs moved within a win of taking their ninth conference series in 10 weekends.
With two days left in the regular season, Texas A&M and MSU remain tied for first place in the Western Division standings.
"Dakota was outstanding tonight," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "You want that complete-game shutout but he was up there in pitches (finished at 120). He is throwing 94, 95 and touched 96 there at the end. That says a lot about his conditioning, character and toughness."
Hudson (9-3) threw his third complete game and the team's fifth this season, while allowing five hits with 10 strikeouts and two walks. The Bulldogs have thrown eight shutouts. Last weekend, Hudson blanked Auburn 4-0. Hudson has allowed one earned run in the last 26.1 innings and has 101 punch outs for the season.
Offensively, the Bulldogs had 12 hits, including a 5-for-5 night from freshman leadoff man Jake Mangum. Mangum joins Nathaniel Lowe with five-hit nights for the Bulldogs this season. He also takes over the SEC lead with a .423 batting average for the season.
"In my 24 years of doing this, I don't know if I have a seen a guy who doesn't hit fly balls (like Mangum)," Cohen said. "He finds a way to get on. There were some things we didn't do situationally. However, scoring runs early was big. We will need to have a better overall offensive night (Friday)."
The Bulldogs scored in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Brent Rooker.
In the third inning, the Bulldogs then added three scores. Three errors by the Razorbacks helped the cause in that at-bat. Gavin Collins had a sacrifice fly, while Jacob Robson had an RBI-single.
In the fifth inning, Reid Humphreys had a bases-loaded walk. In the sixth inning, an error plated one run, while Lowe had an RBI-double.
Jack Kruger and Lowe each had multiple hits for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs have now had 10 or more hits in six straight games.
The series resumes at 6:30 p.m. Friday (SEC Network +) and concludes at 5 p.m. Saturday (SEC Network).
Five-run 6th dooms Rebels: Kicking off a series against the No. 2 team in the country, No. 6 Ole Miss could not overcome a five-run sixth inning by the opposition as Texas A&M claimed a 6-1 win. The setback was the first series-opening loss in the past seven Southeastern Conference series for the Rebels (39-15, 17-11).
Sophomore Will Golsan continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 to increase his hitting streak to 12 games. Junior Colby Bortles hit his seventh home run of the season, while classmate J.B. Woodman added his 12th double of 2016.
Rebel ace Brady Bramlett (7-3) suffered his first loss in seven starts. The redshirt junior allowed four runs on six hits in 5.1 innings. Freshman Andy Pagnozzi had another impressive relief outing, tossing 2.2 scoreless innings and retiring eight of the 10 batters he faced.
Starting pitcher Brigham Hill (7-1) allowed just one run on four hits in 7.0 innings of work to earn the victory. J.B. Moss and Jonathan Moroney led the Aggies (40-12, 19-9 SEC) at the plate with three hits apiece. Maroney and Hunter Melton each knocked in a pair of runs, while Nick Choruby tallied two hits and two runs.
Texas A&M broke the game open with five runs in the sixth. The Aggies used six hits, including two doubles, to take a 6-1 lead. With two runners on base, Pagnozzi entered the game and got the Rebels out of the inning by forcing back-to-back groundouts, but the damage was done with the home team creating a five-run cushion.
Ole Miss will look to even the series Friday night at 6:30 p.m. Sophomore left-hander David Parkinson will start for the Rebels, squaring off against Texas A&M sophomore Turner Larkins. The game will be broadcast on SECN+ and can also be heard on the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network.
Southern Miss falls in extras: After falling behind 4-0 through five innings, the Golden Eagles (36-13, 20-8) scored three runs in the sixth and one run in the seventh and eighth to take a one-run advantage. FIU (26-27, 13-15) scored in the eighth to send the game to extras and eventually won, 6-5, in the 10th inning on a wild pitch that scored Zack Soria.
Nick Sandlin took the loss, allowing two runs on three walks and two hits in 2 1/3 innings. He also struck out three. Cord Cockrell pitched three scoreless frames to start for USM, giving up two hits and striking out three.
Williams Durruthy earned the win for FIU after throwing two scoreless frames.
Dylan Burdeaux, Jake Sandlin and Chuckie Robinson each had two hits for USM, with Tim Lynch, Hunter Slater and Nick Dawson all driving in runs.
Southern Miss and FIU return to the diamond Friday for a 5:30 p.m. start.