AUBURN, Ala. – Kevin Patterson drove in four runs, while Casey McElroy went 3-for-5 with a run scored as Auburn defeated Arkansas 9-5 on Saturday afternoon at Plainsman Park.
The victory for the Tigers evens the series at one game apiece with the rubber game scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. Arkansas is now 15-3 and 1-1 in Southeastern Conference play, while Auburn is 13-6 and 1-1 in league play.
Three Razorbacks had two hits in the loss. Bo Bigham, Matt Reynolds and Kyle Robinson had two hits in the game. Reynolds drove in a team-high two runs.
Patterson had a pair of hits and drove in four runs, with all four RBI coming on a fourth-inning grand slam, his third home run of the season. McElroy had three hits and scored a run. Creede Simpson drove in a pair of runs and went 1-for-2 at the plate.
Auburn starting pitcher Will Irvin improved his record to 3-0, throwing six innings and allowing two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. Arkansas starter Brandon Moore dropped to 2-1 on the year with the loss. Moore allowed six runs on seven hits with four strikeouts in three innings. Zach Blatt earned his second save of the season, coming in with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and the score 9-4. Blatt walked the first man he faced and then got a pop out from Dominic Ficocicello to end the game.
Arkansas jumped out to a 2-0 with a run each in the second and third. In the second, Bigham drove in Robinson with a RBI single to put the Razorbacks in front 1-0. Arkansas doubled its lead in the third on a RBI double by Sam Bates off the left field wall.
Auburn jumped on top for good with a six-run fourth inning, sending 11 batters to the plate in the inning. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Tony Caldwell singled to left field to score a run and keep the bases loaded. Patterson unloaded the bases with a grand slam over the left-center field wall to put Auburn in front 5-2. Later on in the inning, a perfectly executed suicide squeeze by Justin Hargett scored Brooks Beisner from third for the sixth run of the inning.
The Tigers added on to their lead with two runs in the fifth. Simpson doubled down the left field to score a pair of runs. Wes Gilmer scored from second and pinch runner Jay Gonzalez raced around to score from first after a fielding error by Robinson in left field.
Auburn made the score 9-2 with a run in the seventh. Simpson hit a sacrifice fly to right-center field, scoring Caldwell.
Trailing by seven entering the ninth inning, Arkansas made things interesting, scoring three runs and bringing the tying run to the plate with two outs. With the bases loaded and two outs, Reynolds singled through the left side of the infield, scoring Kyle Atkins and Jarrod McKinney. Matt Vinson then singled to left field to load the bases again with two outs. Robinson drew a walk to bring in Carver and trim the Auburn lead to 9-5. Ficociello popped out to the shortstop in shallow left field and give the Tigers a 9-5 series-evening win.
The rubber game between the Razorbacks and Tigers is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. Sophomore southpaw Cade Lynch (2-0, 1.35) will take the mound for Arkansas, while Auburn will counter with junior right-handed pitcher Derek Varnadore (3-0, 2.79). The game will be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG College and a free webcast of the game will be available on AuburnTigers.com. Also, a live blog and live stats will be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com