Teams are not allowed to take batting practice on the field at the Hoover Met. Auburn seemingly didn't understand that rule, while Chad Spanberger flat-out ignored it.
Three Arkansas pitchers combined for a seven-inning no-hitter and the Razorbacks' first baseman slugged a home run in each of his first three at bats, propelling Arkansas to a 12-0 mercy-rule win over Auburn in an SEC Tournament elimination game Thursday.
Spanberger's first two homers - a solo shot in the first and a two-run shot in the third - gave Arkansas its first three runs of the game. His third was a grand slam in the fourth inning that doubled the Razorbacks' lead.
The trio of long balls broke the SEC Tournament single-game record and tied the UA record. Brett Eibner was the most recent of nine other Razorbacks to accomplish the feat, when he did it against Grambling State in the 2010 Fayetteville Regional.
He came up to the plate in the fifth and seventh innings with two runners on base and a chance to complete the "home run cycle," but he was intentionally walked and grounded into a fielder's choice. (Florida State's Marshall McDougall is the only Division I player known to complete the home run cycle, doing it in 1999.)
The seven RBIs by Spanberger also broke the SEC Tournament record.
That was more than enough offense for Arkansas' pitching staff, which struggled with command throughout the game but still managed not to give up a single base hit.
Dominic Taccolini got the start for the Razorbacks and went two innings. He was followed by Matt Cronin (three innings) and Josh Alberius (two innings).
It was the 13th no-hitter in UA history and first since three pitchers - including Nick Schmidt - combined for one against Oklahoma State on Feb. 11, 2006. It was the first no-hitter in SEC Tournament history, as well.
They did allow eight base runners, though, as the Tigers reached on seven walks and a hit batter. Cronin was credited with the individual victory, striking out six of the 13 batters he faced.
Arkansas advances to play the loser of Friday morning's Florida-Mississippi State game in another elimination game. It will be televised on the SEC Network at a time yet to be determined Friday evening.