By Nate Allen
Special to the News-Times
FAYETTEVILLE - Other than Luke Bonfield’s two-run home run and Grant Koch’s solo home run, Mississippi State lefty Konnor Pilkington pitched a great game against the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Allowing only Ryan Gridley’s solo home run allowed Arkansas’ Blaine Knight to pitch an even better one.
Gridley’s home run in first countered by Bonfield’s two-run home run in bottom of the first and Koch’s home run in the sixth accounted for all the scoring in Arkansas’ 3-1 SEC West victory Friday night before 4,387 at Baum Stadium in both teams’ SEC season opener.
The Razorbacks (15-4, 1-0) and Bulldogs (12-7, 0-1) continue their three-game series at 7 tonight on the SEC Network and at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Pilkington pitched a four-hitter for eight complete and matched his career high with 13 strikeouts.
Knight, a sophomore right-hander, threw a career long seven complete innings with a career high 11 strikeouts against no walks and four hits.
Knight cramped going into the seventh inning, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. Right-hander Kevin Kopps and freshman lefty Evan Lee in relief mixed and matched against Mississippi State’s right-handed and left-handed batters, keeping the Bulldogs scoreless while stranding a runner in the eighth.
Closer Cannon Chadwick struck out the side in the Bulldogs’ ninth.