AUBURN, Ala. – Danny Hamblin crushed two home runs and Nick Schmidt hurled a complete game as No. 7 Arkansas took care of business on Friday night with a 12-1 win over Auburn in front of 2,513 fans at Plainsman Park.
The Razorbacks improved to 34-11 on the season and ran their SEC-leading record to 14-5. The Tigers fall to 27-18 and 6-13 in league play.
Hamblin staked Schmidt to an early lead with a three-run home run with two outs in the first inning. The Razorbacks had already put one run on the board with two down on Casey Coon’s infield RBI single.
Hamblin then followed with his second home run of the game in the fifth inning, a mammoth solo shot to center field that put the Hogs up 9-1. It was Hamblin’s fourth multiple home run game of the season and the sixth of his career. He doubled in the ninth to round out a 3-for-5 performance.
The home runs were the 50th and 51st of his career and the four RBI moved him past Jeff King for second place in career RBI at Arkansas with 207.
Schmidt tossed his second straight complete game to improve to 9-1 on the season. It ties his career high of nine wins set last season and marks the first back-to-back complete games of his career. He fanned eight and allowed just one run on four hits.
Schmidt was efficient with his pitches all night throwing 114 pitches. He came out in the bottom half of the third inning and retired the first three hitters in the Tigers’ lineup on four pitches. He had another quick inning in the sixth as he retired the side with five pitches.
Tigers’ starting pitcher Evan Crawford took the loss to fall to 4-4 after allowing nine runs – all earned – on 10 hits. He threw a career-high 118 pitches over seven innings of work with two walks and five strikeouts.
The Arkansas offense collected 14 hits on the night and bashed four home runs. After Hamblin’s three hits, Coon also went 3 for 5 and Logan Forsythe was 2 for 4. The entire starting lineup for the Hogs got at least one hit.
Joseph Sanders led off the second inning with a shot to center field that Jake Dugger couldn’t quite corral as he slammed into the wall. After two Schmidt strikeouts, Ross Smith lined a single up the middle to make it 4-1 Hogs.
UA got the run back in the top of the third inning on what went in the scorebook as an RBI ground out to third base by Jeff Nutt. It wasn’t by conventional methods, however, as Nutt swung at the pitch and actually made contact with his right hand. The two-hopper to third base scored Forsythe, who doubled into the left-field corner with one out.
The Hogs extended the lead to 8-1 with three runs in the fourth inning. Sean Jones plated the first run with a bases-loaded-bloop single to left field. Ben Tschepikow drove in the seventh run with a high chopper to second base and Forsythe followed sacrifice fly to center field.
Brian Walker connected for his seventh home run of the season with two outs in the top of the eighth inning with a solo shot down the right field line to make it 10-1. Casey Coon then hammered his seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot in the top of the ninth, over the 30-foot-high wall in left field.
The second game of the series is slated for a 2 p.m. first pitch on Saturday at Plainsman Park in Auburn, Ala.