Razorbacks win first SEC series

Arkansas hit four home runs and beat Auburn 14-7 Saturday at Baum Stadium.

Arkansas hit four home runs and beat Auburn 14-7 Saturday at Baum Stadium.

Michael Bernal hit two home runs and Luke Bonfield and Chad Spanberger each had one as the Razorbacks beat the Tigers for the second straight night. Arkansas scored five runs in two separate innings and led 13-0 after six innings. 

The No. 18 Razorbacks (17-6, 2-3 SEC) won their first conference series of the season.

"It feels good," Bernal said. "Offensively, guys are being more aggressive. We had a lot of strikeouts last weekend (at South Carolina). It's something that we don't want to be part of our make-up. I think guys are doing a better job battling at the plate, having better at-bats, being a little more aggressive and that works for us." 

Bernal had two-run home runs in the fourth and fifth innings. It was the second multi-home run game this season for the senior short stop, who leads the team with six home runs. 

"He's been working so hard on his hitting," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "He's been so frustrated because he hasn't swung the bat well since we left Houston. That's been (a few weeks) now.

"He took some really good swings today. Even when he didn't get a hit, he made some contact, fouled some off. He didn't get out in front today and that was really good to see."

Bernal's second home run capped a five-run fifth for the Razorbacks. Rick Nomura had a fielder's choice RBI and Arkansas scored two more runs when Auburn right fielder Jackson Burgreen dropped a fly ball from Spanberger that would have been the final out of the inning.

Luke Bonfield added a two-run home run during the Razorbacks' five-run sixth inning. Bonfield's home run came against Auburn freshman Daniel Sprinkle, a native of White Hall who is the younger brother of Arkansas football tight end Jeremy Sprinkle. 

Daniel Sprinkle gave up five runs in 2/3 innings to raise his ERA from 1.42 to 7.71. Tigers reliever Andrew Mitchell also gave up five runs in 2/3 innings.

Auburn (11-12, 1-4) got on the board when Joshua Palacios hit a three-run home run off Arkansas reliever Ty Harris in the seventh inning. The Tigers added two more runs off the freshman left-hander in the eighth. 

Spanberger's solo home run in the bottom of the eighth was his fourth this season. He finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored. 

Keaton McKinney worked around five walks to pitch six scoreless innings and earn his first win of the season. McKinney allowed three hits and struck out three.

"He worked out of a couple of small jams early," Van Horn said. "His command was OK, but he made some big pitches. You can tell he's just getting more confidence each outing."

The teams are scheduled to play again Sunday at 1:05 p.m. 

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