Auburn 5, Arkansas 2

Arkansas second baseman Ben Tschepikow speaks up about his team's play after a 5-2 loss to Auburn on Friday night that drops the Razorbacks to 2-7 in SEC action.

After the University of Arkansas' 5-2 loss to Auburn on Friday night at Baum Stadium, Razorback second baseman Ben Tschepikow said what many of his teammates are likely feeling.

His words came after a loss that dropped the home team to 2-7 in SEC play – its seventh league loss in eight contests – and after freshman star Andy Wilkins suffered an injury that may keep him sidelined for a month.

"There is a lot of pressure (to win), but we put that pressure on ourselves," said Tschepikow, who had two of his team's seven hits. "We have got to start winning some games. We are 2-7 now and we have been in the games, but we just don't know how to win right now.

"Honestly, it is a little embarrassing right now the way we are playing – the way we are swinging, defense, pitching, everything," Tschepikow added. "It's embarrassing. That is what it really comes down to now."

Auburn (19-11, 5-5) took over first place in the SEC Western Division while Arkansas (16-12, 2-7) fell 2 ½ behind the Tigers after a loss played before 2,641 fans.

"I just don't think we are playing as hard as we can," Tschepikow said. "Errors are going to happen, mental errors, physical errors, but we are not playing as hard as we can. We are not coming ready to play and I think we are just taking the game for granted right now."

Razorback head coach Dave Van Horn was obviously not a happy camper either.

"Realistically we didn't do anything offensively," Van Horn said. " We set it up a couple times with runners on base, but didn't get a big hit. It looked like we had finally broke through with that last Tuesday (in a 7-6 road win over Missouri State), but obviously tonight it was a different situation. We just didn't get the big hit."

Auburn jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second against Razorback starter Cliff Springston, who lost the game despite hurling a career-high eight innings and racking up a career-high six strikeouts while giving up six hits.

Brian Fletcher, who had two of his team's 10 hits, lifted a sacrifice fly to plate one run while Ryan Jenkins' double brought home the other one.

Arkansas tied it 2-2 in the bottom of the frame when catcher Jeff Nutt launched his first homer of the season after Aaron Murphree had led off the inning with a walk.

Auburn regained the lead on unearned run in the third and pushed it to 4-2 on Matt Hall's fourth-inning RBI single.

Hall crossed the dish to make it 5-2 in the seventh after he doubled, went to third on Trent Mummey's bunt single and scored on a double play.

All three of those runs came with usage of the bunt and with some stolen bases thrown in.

"I felt good today, maybe the best I have felt all year," Springston said. "Auburn just did a good job generating runs, running the bases on me and got down some good bunts. I have to give them credit."

As has been the case since they started the season 11-1, the Razorbacks had their chances, but failed to capitalize.

That including having Nutt on second and Brett Eibner on first with no one out in the seventh.

"We had runners and first and second with nobody out and they didn't move," Van Horn said. "A couple of fly balls and a strikeout later and we are done with that inning. We were down three at the time, but if we could have cut into that one or two runs, anything could have happened. That was really disappointing."

Grant Dayton (4-1) got the win for Auburn while going the first six innings, giving up five hits and fanning six.

Michael Hurst hurled a scoreless inning and Bryan Woodall closed it out with two more.

Wilkins, who has 7 homers and a team-leading 33 RBIs, had to leave the game in the sixth while swinging through a second strike.

"He's probably got a pulled muscle in his side," Van Horn said. "For a hitter, that is probably one of the worst things that can happen. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if he is out a month."

The two teams will be back in action on Saturday in a 2:05 p.m. game with a 1:05 game on Sunday closing things out.

Van Horn said riding his team about the urgency of the situation is probably not best at this point.

"We've already talked about that and doing it again would be like beating a dead horse," Van Horn said. "It would just make them nervous and get that look in their eye - that fear. As a coach right now, you have to just try and get them ready for the game."


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