Fayetteville, – Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks steamrolled over the Auburn Tigers 15-3 and claimed a share of the Southeastern Conference championship and the outright SEC Western Division title on the last day of the regular season.
It’s the first league and division title for the Razorbacks since 1999 and the fourth overall conference title in the program’s history. Arkansas won Southwest Conference titles in 1989 and 1990.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for our players and our program as a whole,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “I am so proud of our players and coaches for coming together and working hard every day. It wasn’t always easy, but we stayed together as a team and found a way to get things done.”
The Razorbacks will share the SEC title with the Georgia Bulldogs as each team finished the regular season with a 19-11 league record. Arkansas enters the SEC Tournament as the No. 1 seed by virtue of the tiebreaker against third seed LSU.
Arkansas swept the Tigers during the season, while LSU won the series against Georgia.
The Razorbacks will play eighth-seeded Tennessee in the 8 p.m. game at the SEC Tournament.
Jay Sawatski (8-3) earned the win Sunday against the Tigers after pitching five innings and allowing one run, earned, on five hits with four strikeouts.
Mike Felix (2-4) took the loss after giving up one run, earned, on no hits in one-third of an inning. Felix walked three.
The Razorbacks got off to a strong start. Felix walked three of the first four batters he faced in the bottom of the first to load the bases with only one out.
Felix was lifted for Josh Bell. Haas Pratt gave the Hogs a 1-0 lead with a ground out to third that brought Jake Dugger across the plate.
The Tigers were able to avoid the big inning when Bell got Danny Hamblin to fly out to left field for the final out of the inning.
Dugger opened the bottom of the third with a single and advanced to second on a wild throw by Bell to first base. Dugger then moved to third when Bell threw wild attempting to pick Dugger off.
Casey Rowlett plated Dugger with a ground out to shortstop to give the Hogs a 2-0 advantage.
The Razorbacks prevented a run from scoring in the top of the fourth. Ben Sprague singled and moved to third on a single by Clete Thomas.
Chuck Jeroloman then flied out to right. Sprague broke for home, but Stephen Robison fired a perfect throw to Brady Toops at home who tagged Sprague for the out.
The Tigers were able to get on the board later in the inning, however, when Bell laced a single to right past a diving Robison to score Thomas from second base.
Arkansas put runners in scoring position in the bottom of the fourth. Pratt and Hamblin each singled to open the inning and Toops moved them over with a sacrifice bunt.
Pinch-hitter Brett Hagedorn gave the Hogs a 4-1 lead with a double to left that scored Pratt and Hamblin. Scott Bridges was then put in to run for Hagedorn.
Still in the fourth, Robison pushed the Arkansas lead to 6-1 with a home run to left. It was Robison’s second home run of the season and the third home of the series for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth after the third Auburn error of the day. Dugger walked and moved to third on a double by Rowlett. The right fielder’s throw to second was wild and allowed Dugger to score and Rowlett to move to third.
Goodwin made it an 8-1 game with a single that plated Rowlett. Hode followed with a double to put runners at second and third with only one out.
Still in the sixth, Pratt pushed the lead to 10-1 with a double down the left field line that scored Goodwin and Hode.
Arkansas tacked on five more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a commanding 15-1 lead. Toops got the inning going with a two-run double, while Dugger and Goodwin each drove in a run.
Auburn scratched out a run in the top of the eighth and ninth for the final 15-3 margin.
The Razorbacks conclude the regular season with a 37-19 overall record and a 19-11 mark in league play. Auburn ends the regular season with a 32-24 overall record and a 12-18 mark in the SEC.
Arkansas will next take on Tennessee in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala., on Wednesday at 8 p.m.