AUBURN, Ala. – No. 7 Arkansas rode the right arm of Jess Todd and the bat of Brian Walker to an 8-1 win on Sunday afternoon in the rubber game of a three-game SEC series at Auburn in front of 2,344 fans at Plainsman Park.
Jess Todd improved to 6-2 on the season and turned in his second straight complete-game win. The complete game matched up almost perfectly with last week’s complete-game win at Georgia. Todd threw 113 pitches in both games and surrendered six hits.
Brian Walker pounded out a career-high four hits with a double, home run and two RBI. The second-inning home run marked the fourth consecutive game the junior backstop has homered, becoming the first Razorback to accomplish that feat since Ryan Fox hit four from March 30 – April 5 in 2003.
The Hogs improved to 35-12 on the season and tied atop the overall SEC standings with Vanderbilt at 15-6. Auburn falls to 29-19 on the year and 7-14 in SEC play. Arkansas has now won six of their last seven games against Auburn.
The Razorbacks are now 7-0 in rubber games this season and 14-1 on Sunday with the only loss coming in the second game of a doubleheader at Minnesota on March 4 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Arkansas offense racked up 17 hits on the afternoon, but left 14 runners on base. Logan Forsythe and Jeff Nutt both collected three hits and two RBI each. Jake Dugger went 2 for 5 at the plate, but also drew a walk to break Arkansas’ school record with 157 career base on balls. He pasted Tim Thomas who had 156 from 1989-92.
The Razorbacks got one run in the top of the first inning on three hits. Dugger’s leadoff double came around to score on Nutt’s RBI single to right field.
Walker connected for his third home run in as many days with a solo shot to lead off the second inning. He has a career-best nine home run on the season, 30 RBI and has raised his batting average to .258.
A leadoff single by Justin Bristow scored on a RBI ground out in the bottom of the third inning to cut the Hogs’ lead in half at 2-1.
The Hogs scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning on an infield-bases-loaded single by Forsythe and a RBI single to center field by Nutt. But a third run was on his way home when Forsythe was cut down taking too big a turn rounding second base and the home plate umpire ruled the run had not scored on Nutt’s single.
A three-run sixth inning gave the Razorbacks a little breathing room at 7-1. Danny Hamblin drove in the first run with an infield single and the second run scored on a wild pitch from Woodley. Walker delivered his fourth hit if the day with a double into the left-center field gap for his second RBI and the final run of the inning.
Bryan Woodley last 5.2 innings for the Tigers and fell to 2-2 on the season. He surrendered seven runs – all earned – on 13 hits with two walks and three strikeouts on 105 pitches. Austin Hubbard came on and pitched well in relief, throwing 3.1 innings and allowing one run on four hits with two strikeouts.
Forsythe added a RBI single in the top of the ninth inning to give the Hogs a seven-run lead at 8-1.
The Razorbacks do not have a midweek game this week and await a visit from the LSU Tigers next weekend. The series is slated to begin with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch on Friday, May 4. The series continues at 3:07 p.m. on Saturday with a game that is televised on Fox Sports Net (channel 27 in NW Arkansas). The finale will begin at 12:35 p.m. on Sunday and is televised by Cox Sports (channel 119 in NW Arkansas).