FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 7 University of Arkansas baseball team lost to Auburn, 13-2, Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium. In defeat, Zack Cox was 3-for-4, including his seventh home run of the season, and Andy Wilkins added his 12th long ball of the year. With the win, the visiting Tigers also clinched the series victory.
"They just really outplayed us today, no doubt about it," head coach Dave Van Horn said. "It started off on the mound. I think we had a 0-0 game going into the fourth. I don’t know if it started out with a walk or a home run but all of a sudden we are down three. We got out of that (inning) only down three and felt good about it. We had a chance to cut into it but we didn’t get a hit here or there and left some runners out there.
"Things just start snowballing a little bit and that was kind of difficult. Bottom line is we didn’t play very well and we didn’t hit very well. We were out-pitched, out-hit and out-fielded all day today and that’s what makes the loss so difficult."
Trent Mummey opened the scoring for Auburn (30-15, 12-9 SEC) with a solo home run to lead off the top of the fourth inning. The next three hitters all reached by way of two singles and a walk to load the bases for the visitors. Casey McElroy pushed Auburn’s lead to 3-0 with a two-run single up the middle. Jordan Pratt came in to replace Arkansas starter Brett Eibner after the base hit and record the final two outs without further damage.
Arkansas (35-10, 14-7 SEC) put two runners on in the bottom of the fourth but couldn’t cash in on the scoring opportunity. Cox led off the frame with a single and Monk Kreder drew a two-out walk. Travis Sample, the Hogs’ next hitter, lined a shot toward shallow center field but Mummey made a diving catch for the final out to end the home threat.
Auburn added a run in the sixth to extend its lead to four. Kevin Patterson walked to lead off the inning and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Ryan Jenkins drove in the run with a one-out double to left center. Pratt buckled down to retire the next two hitters to keep the Tigers’ inning tally to one.
"(Pratt) did a good job if you take away a couple walks," Van Horn said. "They were untimely walks, especially his last inning when he walked the lead-off man. He went 3-0 a couple times but the key is just being more consistent. He’s got good stuff. They didn’t hit him real hard, just a couple of ground-ball singles. He had pretty good stuff and that was good to see."
Cox gave Arkansas its first run of the game with a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the sixth. It was his first home run since April 9, game one of the Mississippi State series. Cox’s three-hit performance Sunday was his 10th of the season and bumps his batting average to .443. With one down, Wilkins launched a solo home run of his own to left field to cut Auburn’s lead in half. The home run was the 39th career long ball for Wilkins, moving him into a tie for fourth on the program’s all-time list with Brian Kirby (1998-2001).
Mike Bolsinger entered the ball game in the seventh with a runner on first after Pratt walked Mummey to lead off the inning. On an errant throw over to the first, Mummey moved all the way around to third and came home to score on an RBI single by Brian Fletcher. Patterson also had an RBI base hit and McElroy capped the inning with a two-run single to give Auburn an 8-2 advantage.
The Tigers continued the scoring barrage with four more runs in the top of the eighth. Fletcher picked up his third hit of the day, a run-scoring single, but the big hit of the inning belonged to Patterson. Auburn’s designated hitter put his team ahead, 12-2, with a three-run shot. Jenkins tacked on a solo shot in ninth to give Auburn its final tally.
The Razorbacks have no non-conference games during the midweek and will return to action Friday for the beginning of a three-game road series at Ole Miss. Games one and two of the weekend series played at Oxford-University Stadium in Oxford, Miss., will be televised by ESPNU.