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Coil’s solid relief not enough to overcome early hole for Hogs

Brady Tygart struggles again, Ben Bybee can’t help as Mississippi State takes an 8-5 win to even series.

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Parker Coil spun 3.1 scoreless innings in relief and Wehiwa Aloy collected his second multi-hit game in as many nights, as No. 5 Arkansas (41-10, 18-8 SEC) dropped game two against No. 14 Mississippi State (33-17, 15-11 SEC), 8-5, Saturday night at Baum-Walker Stadium to set up a series-deciding rubber game tomorrow afternoon.

Despite the loss, Arkansas stayed within one game of Kentucky (36-11, 19-7 SEC) in the overall SEC race and maintained its two-game lead over Texas A&M (41-10, 16-7 SEC) in the SEC West with four games left to play in the regular season.

The Bulldogs tagged Razorback starter Brady Tygart for four runs on three hits and five walks to take control of the game from first pitch. The junior righty fanned a pair in 1.2 innings of work before giving way to Ben Bybee and the bullpen.

Mississippi State continued to mash, however, adding four more runs to open an 8-0 advantage entering the bottom of the fourth. In 2.1 relief innings, Bybee allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks with three strikeouts.

Trailing by eight, Arkansas responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the fourth to shrink its deficit. Coil entered to start the fifth inning and brought the Bulldog offense to a halt, as he twirled 3.1 shutout frames with three strikeouts.

With Coil posting zeroes on the board, the Razorbacks inched closer with runs in the fifth and sixth. Peyton Stovall hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth before Kendall Diggs’ sacrifice fly in the sixth moved Arkansas within three.

Stovall, who finished 1-for-5 with two RBI, is slashing a team-leading .348/.411/.578 with nine home runs and 37 RBI on the year. The Razorback captain also leads the team in hits (56) despite missing 12 games due to his preseason injury.

Cooper Dossett (0.1 IP), Stone Hewlett (0.1 IP, 1 SO) and Jake Faherty (1.0 IP, 2 SO) were as good as Coil, emerging from the bullpen and combining for 1.2 scoreless innings in relief to give the Hogs an opportunity to get back into the game.

Arkansas left nine runners on base and finished 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, as Mississippi State’s bullpen did not allow a run over the final three frames and secured the 8-5 win to force tomorrow’s series-deciding rubber game.

Offensively, Aloy led the charge for Arkansas, finishing 3-for-5 with a career-high-tying two doubles. For the season, the Razorback star shortstop is now slashing .284/.382/.487 and leads the team in home runs (11) and RBI (50).

The Hogs, who have won nine straight SEC home weekend series since last season and 21 of their last 22 SEC home weekend series since 2019, look to clinch yet another SEC home weekend series win tomorrow afternoon. First pitch in series finale between Arkansas and Mississippi State is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday on the SEC Network.

You can listen on HitThatLine in selected markets or on the radio at ESPN Arkansas 95.3 in the River Valley, 96.3 in Hot Springs and 104.3 in Harrison-Mountain Home. The pregame show with Phil Elson and Bubba Carpenter starts at 1:30 p.m.

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ESPN ARKANSAS 99.5 IN FAYETTEVILLE, 95.3 IN THE RIVER VALLEY, 96.3 IN HOT SPRINGS, 104.3 IN HARRISON-MOUNTAIN HOME.