Mississippi State couldn’t have been happy when they were paired with Central Arkansas in a regional.
UCA took two of three from the Bulldogs in the regular season and again topped Mississippi State on the road Sunday 5-2 to force a final game in the Starkville regional.
The Bears and Bulldogs will play at 7 p.m. Monday to determine the regional winner and who gets to go to Charlottesville to face Virginia in the super regional.
Gravette native Ethan McKinzie picked up the win as he threw the second complete game of the day for UCA. McKinzie allowed two runs on four hits and was able to avoid disaster despite walking five.
The Bears (43-21) scored three runs in the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie. Scott Zimmerle gave UCA the lead with a RBI single to center then Justin Treece provided the insurance as he drove in two more with a double over the left fielder’s head.
Mississippi State had tied the game in the top of the 6th on a RBI single from Sam Frost.
“We’re disappointed but all you can do now is put this one in the rear-view mirror,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. “Obviously, you can’t make the mistakes we made tonight and expect to win. We were fortunate that we got away with it Friday night.”
UCA took a 2-1 lead in the third after a throwing error by the Bulldogs’ Adam Frazier. Frazier attempted to turn a double play that would have ended the inning but an errant throw to first allow two runs to score.
UCA is 3-2 against Mississippi State this season.The Bears lost 5-3 to the Bulldogs on Friday.
The Bears eliminated South Alabama Sunday afternoon behind a shutout by freshman pitcher Connor Gilmore. UCA beat the Jaguars 3-0.