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Mississippi State mounts late comeback to beat Arkansas

1450 days ago
SEC Network
Photo: Mississippi State Athletics

HOOVER, Ala. -- No. 5 seed Mississippi State rallied late to beat No. 4 seed Arkansas 4-3 in the SEC Tournament.

This was Mississippi State's 22nd come-from-behind win of the season, the most in the SEC. Despite leading the league in comeback wins, this was the first time the Bulldogs were able to rally for a victory when trailing after eight innings.

Down one run in the top of the ninth, Mississippi State's Ryan Gridley led off with a single. SEC Player of the Year Brent Rooker followed with a double to bring the tying run across the plate. The Bulldogs drew a bases-loaded walk for the go-ahead run.

"There's just no quit in us," said Rooker. "We might be one of the younger teams in here, one of the more inexperienced teams here. Despite not having experience, there's just a ton of heart, there's a ton of grit and a ton of guts in that locker room and that dugout that's never gonna give up and going to fight to the end."

Arkansas' offense came alive early, but the Razorbacks had to use seven different pitchers on the mound and were unable to hold onto the lead.

The Razorbacks took an early 2-0 lead in the first on Luke Bonfield's two-run home run. This was Arkansas' 71st home run of the season, the second highest season total since BBCOR bats were adopted in 2011. Florida hit 75 homers in 2012.

Arkansas freshman Jack Kenley's first hit of the year came in the form of an RBI double, extending the Razorback lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the second.

It looked like the Razorbacks were going to add to their lead in the fourth inning, but Mississippi State's Tanner Poole robbed Jax Biggers of a home run at the wall.

The Bulldogs started the first five innings 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Mississippi State got on the board in the sixth inning on an RBI single by sophomore Elijah MacNamee. In the eighth Josh Lovelady grounded into a fielder's choice to bring Cody Brown across the plate and make it a one-run game.

"There was certainly some pressure-filled moments there where you kept thinking we are only going to get so many opportunities against a really good Arkansas team," said Mississippi State coach Andy Cannizaro. "At some point you wanted to see somebody step up to the plate and pick up a big hit. The way we came back and won today, that's how the majority of our ballgames have gone this year. At the end of the day, when they shut the scoreboard down the only thing we care about is having more runs than the other team."

UP NEXT: Arkansas plays again today against No. 8 seed Auburn in an elimination game scheduled to start at 5:30 pm ET on SEC Network. Mississippi State continues double-elimination play against top-seeded Florida Friday at noon ET on SEC Network.