AUBURN, Ala. – The No. 15 Arkansas baseball team drove in 10 runs with two outs including five in the final two innings to secure a series victory and its best Southeastern Conference start in school history with a 10-6 victory against the Auburn Tigers at Plainsman Park in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday.
Arkansas (15-4, 5-0 SEC) remains the only undefeated team in SEC play with the victory and the Razorbacks’ unblemished record through five games is their best start in the SEC since joining the league in 1992. Auburn (15-7, 2-3 SEC) drops its first SEC series of the season with the loss.
“Two-out RBI that was the key,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “It gets to a team mentally and is tough on a pitching staff. We just hung in there on the road and are fortunate to get the win.”
Down by one going into the top of the eighth, the Razorbacks came back for the second time in the game with two runs to take a 7-6 lead. A leadoff error by the Tigers and two walks loaded the bases with two outs. Jacob House strode to the plate and hit a 2-0 pitch to left-center field to score two and put the Razorbacks up for good.
Another two-out rally in the top of the ninth brought three more runs across the plate for the Razorbacks to put the game out of reach. This time Scott Lyons had the big hit as he drove one to right field with the bases loaded to score two runs and Ben Tschepikow followed with a double down the left-field line.
Auburn was the first to score in the game when it manufactured a run in the bottom of the first. A leadoff walk was followed by a hit batter putting two runners on with no outs. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position allowing one run to score on Hunter Morris’ hot shot to second base. The Auburn threat ended the next batter on a strike out.
The Razorbacks wasted no time making up their deficit by hanging three on the Tigers in the top of the second. The Hogs first two out rally began when Collin Kuhn was hit by a pitch, placing runners on first and second. Chase Leavitt then stroked a double to the right-center field gap allowing both runners to score. A single by Lyons plated Leavitt and Arkansas found itself with a 3-1 lead. Lyons’ single extended his career best hitting streak to nine games.
Auburn would tie the game at three in the bottom of the second on a two-run home run by Justin Hargett and after the fireworks of the first two innings, both starting pitchers settled down to put zeros on the scoreboard through the fifth inning.
The Hogs would take the lead for the second time in the sixth with another two-out rally. A leadoff single by Zack Cox was followed by a hit batter and the Razorbacks appeared to be on their way to a big inning. Arkansas’ next batter attempted to catch the Auburn defense flat-footed and slugged a ball directly at the shortstop resulting in a potential rally killing double play. Kuhn was the next hitter for the Razorbacks and hit a seeing-eye single past the third baseman to score Darr who reached on the hit batter. Kuhn stole second base two pitches before Leavitt singled through the right side to bring him around to score and make it a 5-3 game in favor of the Razorbacks.
The bottom of the sixth began with a bang as the Auburn leadoff hitter hit a line drive that appeared as though it would clear the right-field wall, but a leaping grab by Leavitt robbed the ball from leaving the park. Auburn’s next hitter however, Hunter Morris, did not afford the Razorback defense the same opportunity as he hit a no doubter over the right-center field fence to bring Auburn within one, 5-4.
Auburn would take the lead in the game in the seventh with two runs thanks to three walks and a clutch single to left field, but the edge would not last as Arkansas rallied in the final two innings.
For the second day in a row, Van Horn had a record-setting day as he claimed the 250th win of his Razorback tenure. Friday night’s victory was his 100th SEC win.
Arkansas racked up 12 hits on the day with Leavitt, Lyons, House and Kuhn all collecting two each. Leavitt and Lyons each drove in three runs for the Razorbacks while House had a pair of RBI. Kuhn reached base four times and scored four runs while Leavitt was on base in five of six plate appearances.
On the mound T.J. Forrest got the start for the Hogs and threw five innings while allowing four runs. Scott Limbocker tossed 1/3 of an inning and gave up a pair of Auburn scores before Stephen Richards closed it out with 2.2 innings of work for his fourth win of the season.
The Razorbacks and Tigers conclude their three-game series on Sunday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.