FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Junior Cliff Springston pitched a career best eight innings, but despite his efforts, the University of Arkansas baseball team could not solve the pitching of the Auburn Tigers on Friday night at Baum Stadium, falling 5-2 in the first game of the three-game series.
Arkansas (16-12, 2-7 SEC) scored two runs on three hits in the first two innings of the ball game, but managed just four hits the rest of the way while Auburn (19-11, 5-5 SEC) tallied runs in four innings including three straight between the second and fourth.
“We just didn’t have it offensively tonight,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “They played good defense tonight and their pitcher pitched well. We just didn’t have it. We’ve been talking to them about this being a time of urgency. Now all we can do is let them go out and play.”
After spotting the Tigers a two-run lead in the top of the second, Arkansas came back with two of its own in the bottom half of the inning. Aaron Murphree led off the inning with a walk and after drawing the attention of Auburn starter, Grant Dayton, with throws to the base, Jeff Nutt crushed one off the bottom of the scoreboard in right-center field to tie the game at two. The home run for Nutt was his first of the season in just his second game back from injury.
Auburn would again get out in front of the Razorbacks by posting single runs in both the third and fourth inning. Playing small ball and getting the timely hit, Auburn also benefitted from an Arkansas error in the third to post its sores.
Little happened in the middle innings of the contest as both pitchers dominated their opposition. The Auburn Tigers would finally work another run out of Springston in the seventh after opening the inning with back-to-back hits. The Tigers fifth run would come across the plate on an Arkansas double play where the Razorbacks conceded the run for the outs.
On the mound Springston hurled a career long eight innings and matched his career high in strikeouts with six. The Lorena, Texas, native gave up five runs, four earned, on nine hits with two walks. Travis Hill pitched the ninth inning for the Razorbacks and allowed one hit.
For the Razorbacks, Nutt and Ben Tschepikow each earned two hits with Nutt accounting for the only Arkansas scoring in the second inning. Sean Jones hit a two-out triple in the fifth inning and Murphree and Chase Leavitt accounted for the only other Razorback hits.
The Arkansas-Auburn series continues on Saturday afternoon with a 2:05 p.m. start at Baum Stadium. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit www.hogwired.com.