If the Arkansas football team's twitter hastag is #1-0, the Razorback baseball team's might as well be #2-1.
Auburn used a stellar outing by pitcher Dillon Ortman and a pair of unearned runs to mar another great start by Trey Killian and the Tigers went on to down Arkansas 2-1 Friday night before 7,015 fans at Baum Stadium.
It was the 10th one-run loss this season for the Razorbacks (27-17, 9-10) – the seventh by that same 2-1 score and the third time that Killian (2-7, 2.04) had lost by that margin during 2014.
"They are all tough," Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. "The later they get in the season they get a little bit tougher, especially when we have been playing so well. Two unearned runs, it's pretty tough. Trey pitched well."
Arkansas had the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the ninth with one out, but reliever Terrance Dedrick got pinch-hitter Michael Gunn to fly out deep to left and pinch-hitter Clark Eagan to line out to center on consective pitches to end the game.
It was the second straight win on Friday night for Auburn (24-19, 8-11) – who beat South Carolina last week - and the second straight special outing for Ortman (8-2, 1.84).
The Tigers won despite being outhit 6-4.
"We play well on Friday nights," Auburn head coach Sunny Golloway noted. " We've won five of our seven games on Friday night. We might have the best record in the league on Friday nights. But that hasn't been our problem. Our problem's been the next two games. Coach Van Horn is going to be very aware of that with his guys.
"He'll explain to them that they beat South Carolina last Friday night then dropped the next two by one run," Golloway added. "So all our games have been close. We're 4-4 in our last eight games and we lost four games by one run."
Killian, who allowed four hits while striking out 8 and walking one, was the victim of two errors in the sixth by shortstop Michael Bernal.
But he wanted to take the blame for a two-out single that plated the first run instead of throwing teammates under the bus.
In fact, he hugged a despondent Bernal before coming into the interview room.
"I feel like I pitched well," Killian said. "But like I said, that one was on me. Our guys are going to make mistakes behind me and I'm going to make mistakes. Everybody does. That's the game of baseball. And I'm not going to put that on our defense behind me. I'm going to put that on myself. I'm going to take credit for that loss. Like I said, getting that pitch a little more outside, making more of a quality pitch on that last guy that got the base hit that scored that first run."
Golloway raved about the performance of Killian, who the Razorbacks have failed to support with runs this season and who also lost 1-0 at Florida earlier this season.
"He was terrific," Golloway said. "The report on him is maybe the best fastball command, other than (Aaron) Nola, LSU'S Friday night guy. He sure showed us that. That's what I told our guys in the third inning, I said, 'look we've struck out four times already in the first two innings. He's going to hit his spots. If you're waiting on him to make mistakes, you're just going to be waiting. So let's move the barrel, look down and away and swing because it's going to be there. He's going to make you hit, and that's what good pitchers do, they make you hit their pitch.'
"That's what makes him so tough," Golloway added. "To squeak out runs. I took a couple of risks, on a hit and run and we got thrown out at third. Took a risk trying to score at home, the ball got dropped. I'm not sure, have to look at a replay. But you know we got in there at home and that was big. The difference maker was bang-bang and us throwing out a would-be tying guy."
Arkansas went up 1-0 on Jake Wise's RBI fielder's choice in the fifth that plated pinch-runner Garrett Rucker, but missed a chance to go up 2-0 when Wise was thrown out at the plate on Bernal's single later in the inning.
"You got two outs, base hit, had to be a perfect throw, he made a perfect throw," Wise said. " You have to tip your hat to him. If it's off to the right a foot, to left a foot it hits me in the back. Kid made a perfect throw. That's what you want to do with two outs. You want to challenge them.
"Bernal did a great job," Wise said. "Put a great swing on it and he made a perfect throw. That's just the reason why they won tonight. They made a little less mistakes than we did."
Van Horn did not second guess the decision to send Wise.
"I thought Ortman pitched extremely well," Van Horn added. "We had a couple of chances but the left fielder made a nice thow. I thought that was definitely the right call sending him to the plate there. The left fielder charged and made a perfect throw. We had a chance to go up 2-0. We had a 1-0 lead and you saw what happened the next inning. We kicked a couple of balls and they scored the two runs and we never scored."
One question asked post-game was about taking out hot-hitting Blake Baxendale after he singled to start the fifth and putting Rucker in to run with him.
Baxendale's spot came up two more times before the game ended – both with runners aboard.
"Can't run,"Van Horn said of Baxendale. "I felt it was going to be a one-run game and it would have been if all had gone the way it wanted. "Who knows what it would have been had it been 1-0, trying to score on a double. The way I looked at it, the next time that spot in the order was going to come up was probably the seventh inning and we needed to score a run or two. That's just the way it goes."
As it was, Gunn and Eagan both got good swings with shots to tie or win it in the ninth after Zach Jackson pitched a scorless top of the frame.
"He (Gunn) hit it off the end of the bat," Van Horn said. "I told him when he got up there to really look to try and hit the ball the other way because he was going to get something off speed. He got out front just a little bit too much. I liked him being aggressive. He got a pitch he thought he could handle, he was just a little bit out front."
Eagan then had runners at second and third as they advanced on Gunn's drive and he jumped on the first pitch as well.
"That was a hanging slider," Van Horn said. "That was a mistake. He gets on top of that ball it's down for a single or a double and the game is over. But he didn't. He was just a little bit late, but that was a hanging slider that could have been hit pretty hard and it wasn't.That's kind of the way our night went."
Van Horn said he wouldn't discuss Bernal's defense with him because he knows what happened.
"He didn't have a good game obviously," Van Horn said. "There is nothing that you can say. He knows what happened. It happens in baseball. The good thing about baseball is that you get another chance tomorrow probably. Disappointed like everybody in that locker room, but we are not pointing fingers at anybody. There were plenty of chances for people to get the job done and didn't happen."
Arkansas and Auburn will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 4:05 p.m with Sunday's game having been moved to Saturday because of the threat of inclement weather.
"This is our fifth doubleheader of the year, which is crazy," Van Horn said. "But it is just the way it is. It's been a bad weather year. It is the same for both teams. You have got to go out and fight through it and just play the game. Hopefully we will play a little better tomorrow."
Auburn 2, Arkansas 1
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