It’s no time to show mercy in the SEC baseball race and Arkansas certainly didn’t do that Saturday night at Mississippi State’s Dudy Noble Field.

Kendall Diggs had a two-run homer, three hits and 5 RBIs and Brady Slavens and Caleb Cali also hit round-trippers as the No. 12 Razorbacks routed struggling Mississippi State 14-2 in Starkville.

“I thought (hitting) Coach (Nate) Thompson and (assistant) Coach (Bobby) Wernes had our hitters ready to roll,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said of his team’s 11 hits. “They fought off a lot of pitches, tried to go the other way. 

“They gave some of those runs. Didn’t make some plays, ran into each other. We had some things go our way, but at the same time, we did a really good job on the offensive end.”

Brady Tygart (2-0) pitched the first two innings and Will McEntire was awarded his first save after handling the final five for Arkansas (35-12, 16-7).

“I thought Tygart came out and threw the ball really well for a couple innings,” Van Horn said. “Then Will came in and really did well the first couple innings. Then they started figuring it out a little bit. He got out of a jam or two. It was just a good night for us.”{

Arkansas used Diggs and Ben McLaughlin’s two-run singles to jump out 4-0 on the second inning, led 8-0 after the fourth and buried the Bulldogs with a a 5-run top of the seventh that brought about the run rule.

The Razorbacks will look their third series sweep in four series – they were swept by Georgia in the other one – when it faces the Bulldogs Sunday at 1 p.m. 

Mississippi State, the NCAA champions just two seasons ago, may not even make the SEC Tournament this season and head coach Chris Lemonis is taking the blame.

“It’s fallen real quick,” Lemonis said. ” That’s on me.  This program shouldn’t be where we’re at right now.”

Lemonis has heard the frustration of the fans, but had a message for those continuing to support his program.

“Thank you,” Lemonis said. “I’ve had so many people reach out.  People are pissed.  And I understand people are pissed, because it’s not acceptable.  

“There are so many fans that show up, we’re doing everything we can to get it back, to get it right.  Right now, it’s a real struggle.”

Lemonis noted that he saw some signs in his dugout on Saturday night.

“Today, as we fell behind, there wasn’t great life in the dugout,” Lemonis said. “That’s the hard part for us right now, it’s almost a try too hard (deal).  I know some people never understand that.  It’s frustrating. 

“Our job as ball players or ball coaches is to show up and give our best effort every day.  Be mentally in the moment, be ready to play and prepare myself.  I didn’t do a good job preparing them for today.”

He did not see that for the first inning on during Saturday’s game.

“We did not play good and that’s on the head coach,” Lemonis said. “….  The biggest disappointment is we dropped five fly balls.  I don’t know how that happens.  We’ll have to practice it more.  

“As we’re trying to get this thing going, get the offense going and get our pitching staff going, then we let five fly balls land.  It’s very disappointing.”                         

Van Horn has empathy for his fellow head coach, but also knows you can’t let up and wants to end the series with a Sunday win and a sweep.

“What I always tell them is it’s hard to sweep anybody, especially on the road,” Van Horn said. “We’re playing a team that’s kind of fighting for their life trying to get into the conference tournament. 

“I just expect us to do what we do. We show up and play hard, and if we play well, we’ve got a good chance to win.”

Hunter Hollan, who was given an extra two days rest to help with his shin splits, is slated to start on the mound for Arkansas on Sunday.

Van Horn noted that Cody Adcock is ready to back him up, but does not want to use freshman closer Gage Wood again this weekend.

“We’ve got a good pitcher, a starting experienced pitcher on the mound and a bullpen,” Van Horn said. “The game’s funny. You never know how it’s going to go. You come out and think you’ve got it made because you’ve got this guy going, and they got that guy going or whatever. It ends up backfiring on you. 

“You’ve got to just come out and play with a little bit of intensity and see how it goes. I don’t worry too much about this team showing up mentally. They usually, for the most part every game this year, they showed up and played hard.”