Baseball

Hogs roll past Mississippi State in series opener Friday night

Jalen Battles didn’t hit all the homers but they were the most interesting.

Arkansas took advantage of that and a solid seven innings from Connor Noland and blasted Mississippi State, 8-1, Friday night at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The Razorbacks had a six-run second inning but the main thing folks will remember about that was Battles’ 420-foot bomb that landed in the Hog Pen in left field.

“(Bulldogs pitcher Preston Johson) tried to sneak a fastball in on (Battles) and he just opened up and hammered it,” Hogs coach Dave Van Horn said. “He hit it a long way. You knew right when it left the bat that was going to stay fair and it was going to go a long way.”

Michael Turner and Chris Lanzilli followed up with RBI singles. That set up Robert Moore for a two-RBI trip to right center, giving the Hogs a 6-0 lead in the bottom of second.

Battles hit another homer the next inning.

“He kept throwing breaking ball, breaking ball,” Van Horn said. “They tried to slide another one in there and he just hit a line drive that didn’t sink until it hit in the bullpen.”

That made it 7-0, which was more than enough.

Especially with Connor Noland on the mound Friday night.

He turned in his fourth quality start and earned his fourth win of the season, striking out six over seven innings of four-hit, one-run ball keeping Mississippi State off-balance all night long.

“Connor was outstanding tonight,” Van Horn said. “I don’t think he walked anyone. He seemed to be working ahead most of the time. When we jumped out to a big lead, it’s all about throwing strikes then, and he did it.“

Arkansas’ bullpen slammed the door. Zebulon Vermillion and Kole Ramage combined for two perfect innings in relief, retiring all six batters they faced to close out the game.

First pitch in game two of the series between Arkansas and Mississippi State is set for 6:30 p.m. SEC Network+.

Jalen Battles (Arkansas Communications)

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