AUBURN, Ala. – The University of Arkansas baseball team (15-14, 4-6) used a two-run single from Joe Serrano in the ninth inning to rally past Auburn (18-12, 3-7) 10-7 Friday evening in the series-opener at Plainsman Field.
Arkansas broke a 7-7 game wide open in the ninth inning when Tucker Pennell and Clark Eagan delivered back-to-back hits to set the stage for a Serrano single up the middle to plate two runs and give the Razorbacks a 9-7 lead. An Andrew Benintendi sacrifice fly later in the inning capped a three-run frame as Arkansas erased an early 5-2 deficit and rallied to pick up the victory.
In a game where the lead changed hands five different times, Arkansas had its big outburst in the sixth inning when Serrano and Benintendi led off the frame with back-to-back home runs, before Bobby Wernes and Michael Bernal delivered RBI hits to give the Razorbacks a four-run inning and turn a 5-2 deficit into a 6-5 lead.
After Auburn scored two runs in the seventh to take the lead, Benintendi took over in the eighth inning and walked, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and raced home on a single from Tyler Spoon to knot the score once again and set up the ninth-inning heroics.
Zach Jackson (3-0) earned the victory in relief, tossing the final 3.0 innings and striking out five of the nine outs he recorded. Trey Killian battled back after giving up five runs in the third inning and lasted 6.0 innings, surrendering five runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out three.
Arkansas and Auburn are slated to play game two of the weekend series Saturday afternoon at Plainsman Park. Dominic Taccolini will get the start for the Razorbacks in a game that will be televised nationally on SEC Network at 6:03 p.m.
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn’s Opening Comment: “To me the biggest inning was when Trey Killian got out of that inning with the bases loaded and one out to keep it at 5-2. He gave our offense a chance and gave us some life. On that base hit Joe (Serrano) got, the ball was up and he got on top of it to drive two in and that was huge.”
Van Horn on the late rally: “We did a good job finding ways to score. Even in the eighth Benintendi got on, stole a bag got to third on a wild pitch and we took advantage of some things. This was a big win for our team.”
- The Razorbacks picked up their first win of the year when trailing after seven innings.
- Arkansas has won three straight SEC series openers.
- The Razorbacks hit multiple home runs in a game for the eighth time this season.
- Arkansas tallied double-digit hits for the 14 time this season and scored 10 or more runs for the seventh time.
- Dave Van Horn sits at 499 wins at Arkansas in his 13th season at the helm of the program.
- Zach Jackson tallied five strikeouts in 3.0 innings and has 14 punch outs in the last 24 outs he has recorded.
- The top three spots in the order (Eagan-Serrano-Benintendi) combined to go 5-for-13 with two home runs, five runs scored and seven runs batted in.
- Tyler Spoon extended his hitting streak to six games as he recorded his third three-hit game of the year.
- Andrew Benintendi’s home run gave him eight for the year and tied him for the SEC lead.
- Arkansas’ back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning is the second back-to-back home runs this season in conference play after doing so against Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer on March 14.
- Saturday the Razorbacks will go for their first series win against Auburn since the 2009 season.
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