FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas baseball team (27-17, 9-10 SEC) came up on the short end of a 2-1 decision Friday evening, falling to Auburn (24-19, 8-11) in the series opener at Baum Stadium.
The Razorbacks had a chance for their first walk-off win of the season in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and two outs, but Auburn closer Terrance Dedrick forced pinch hitter Clark Eagan to fly out on the first pitch to end the game.
Trey Killian (2-7) was the tough-luck loser with another masterful performance on the mound, tossing 8.0 innings with a season-high eight strikeouts and giving up two unearned runs on four hits.
Arkansas scored the first run of the game in the fifth inning when Blake Baxendale singled up the middle and pinch runner Garrett Rucker came around to score on a groundout by Wise later in the frame.
The Razorbacks’ lead was short-lived however, as the Tigers came back and scraped together a pair of unearned runs on one hit and two errors for what turned out to be the difference in the game.
Arkansas stranded six runners in the game, including three in the ninth inning, and fell for just the fourth time when scoring before the opponent.
With inclement weather expected on Sunday, Arkansas and Auburn will cap the three-game weekend series with a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 4:05 p.m. at Baum Stadium.
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Coach Dave Van Horn Quotes:
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on the outcome) – "They are all tough. The later you get in the season, they get a little bit tougher especially when we have been playing so well. Trey pitched well, I thought Ortman pitched extremely well. We had a couple of chances."
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on Clark Eagan being aggressive during the last at-bat) – "That was a hanging slider. That was a mistake. He gets on top of that ball and its gets down for a single or a double and the game is over. But he didn’t, he was a little bit late. That was a hanging slider that could’ve been hit pretty hard and it wasn’t. That is kind of the way our night went."
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on Doubleheader Saturday) – "This is our fifth double-header of the year which is crazy. It has been a bad weather year. It is the same for both teams, just have to fight through it and play the game. Hopefully we will play a little better tomorrow."
Trey Killian recorded a season-high eight strikeouts and finished one shy of his career-high. Jake Wise threw out two more runners to bring his season total to an SEC-leading 16. Arkansas turned its league-leading 42nd double play of the year in the ninth inning. The Razorback pitching staff has held its opponents to two runs or less in 26 of 44 games this season. Brian Anderson extended his hitting streak to six games with a 7th inning single. He has hit safely in 19 of the last 20 games and in 38 of 44 contests on the year.
How They Scored
Arkansas 1, Auburn 0; Bottom 5: Jake Wise reached on a fielder’s choice; Garrett Rucker scored from third base. Arkansas 1, Auburn 1; Top 6: Damon Haecker singled to right field; Jordan Ebert scored from third base. Arkansas 1, Auburn 2; Top 6: Blake Austin reached on a fielding error by the shortstop; Damon Haecker scored.