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Arkansas falls to Auburn in extra innings

Athletic Communications
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FAYETTEVILLE – Justin Bryant broke a 2-2 tie with a 10th-inning RBI single to center field to lead Auburn to a 3-2 win in 10 innings on Thursday night at Baum Stadium.

The Razorbacks drop to 34-16 overall, 12-13 in Southeastern Conference play, while Auburn improves to 27-22 and 11-14 in league play.

With the game tied at two in the top of the 10th, Auburn plated a run to break a 2-2 tie. Jay Gonzalez led off the inning with a double to left-center field. After a strikeout of Creede Simpson, Ryan Tella was intentionally walked to put runners at first and second with one out. Patrick Savage then struck out swinging for the second out of the inning. Bryant came through with a two-out RBI single up the middle, scoring Gonzalez with the go-ahead run.

Arkansas was able to get the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the 10th, but couldn’t bring him home. With one out, Brian Anderson lined a single to left field and then advanced to second on a passed ball. Derrick Bleeker struck out swinging for the second out of the inning and Bo Bigham flied out to right to end the game and give Auburn the win in the series opener.

Matt Reynolds led Arkansas at the plate, recording two hits, including his fifth home run of the season. Reynolds extended his streak of reaching base to 33 straight games. Brian Anderson and Jake Wise accounted for Arkansas’ other two hits in the game.

Bryant had a game-high three hits with a RBI for the Tigers. Gonzalez went 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored.

Auburn reliever Derek Varnadore (3-7) earned the win, throwing two shutout innings with a strikeout. Arkansas reliever Barrett Astin (2-5) took the loss. Astin allowed a run on two hits and struck out two in an inning.

Each starter pitched well, but didn’t factor into the decision. Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale struck out a career-high nine batters and gave up just one run on four hits in 5.2 innings. Auburn starter Jon Luke Jacobs went eight innings, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out eight.

Auburn struck first, scoring a run in the top of the first. Gonzalez led off the game with a double down the left field line and then moved to third after a sacrifice bunt by Simpson. Tella drove in Gonzalez with a ground out to second to put the Tigers in front.

Arkansas tied the game with a run in the bottom of the fourth. With two out and the bases empty, Reynolds belted his fifth home run of the season into the left field bullpen to even the score.

The Razorbacks manufactured a run in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. Wise led off the inning with a double and then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Tim Carver. Jacob Mahan then hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Wise and putting Arkansas on top.

Auburn tied the game at two in the top of the eighth. Simpson began the inning with an infield single and then stole second. After a strikeout of Tella, Savage doubled to the right-center field gap, scoring Simpson.

Arkansas and Auburn continue the three-game weekend series on Friday with first pitch set for 6:35 p.m. The Razorbacks will start junior left hander Randall Fant (2-2, 4.04), while the Tigers will counter with freshman southpaw Daniel Koger (3-4, 2.74).

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