AUBURN, Ala. – Redshirt freshman Drew Smyly threw five strong innings and the Razorback offense provided 12 runs on a season best 17 hits to propel the Arkansas baseball team to a 12-6 win and series sweep of the Auburn Tigers at Plainsman Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Razorbacks (16-4, 6-0 SEC) are off to their best Southeastern Conference start in school history and their back-to-back series sweeps of Florida and Auburn are the first time since 1999 that an Arkansas team has swept SEC teams in consecutive series. Auburn (15-8, 2-4 SEC) was swept for the first time ever by the Razorbacks at their home ballpark.
“This is a big win,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “I have a lot of respect for Auburn and their bats so I was never really comfortable with the lead. To get a sweep on the road in the SEC is big for us.”
The Razorbacks jumped out in front with another two-out rally in the top of the first. Ben Tschepikow got Arkansas’ first hit when he smashed one off the foot of the Auburn pitcher. Jacob House followed up with a base hit through the left side in a hole vacated by a hit-and-run call. The Razorbacks scored their first run on a wild pitch and their second when Zack Cox singled up the middle to score House. Andrew Darr then stroked a double to the left-center field gap to score the final two runs of the inning. The Razorback runs are most that the Tigers have allowed in the first inning this season and only the second time an opposing team has scored in the first against Auburn.
Auburn got one back in the bottom of the second when a throw from second on a potential inning-ending double play sailed wide of the bag at first and allowed a Tiger runner to score. The one run would be all that Auburn’s potent offense could muster against Smyly until the sixth when back-to-back extra base hits plated a second Tiger run. After the hard-hit balls, Van Horn brought in Justin Wells who struck out the next two batters to end the threat and give Smyly a chance at his second career win. The redshirt freshman lefty ended his outing with 5.1 innings, two runs, one earned, five hits and four strikeouts.
Meanwhile, Arkansas was not done scoring as it scored runs in the fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Arkansas’ attack had four hitters with multi-hit games including Tschepikow who found his groove with the Razorbacks’ second four-hit game of the season. Chase Leavitt and Ryan Cisterna had three hits each while Jacob House contributed two in the victory. In the final two games of the set, Leavitt reached base in seven of 10 plate appearances including six hits.
Auburn did rally with four runs in the eighth inning and had runners on base in the ninth, but the Razorback lead was too much to overcome.
The Razorbacks return to Baum Stadium for their next contest, a mid-week affair with the Missouri State Bears on Wednesday evening, March 25, at 6:35 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.