Tigers Win A Pitching Duel Vs. Razorbacks

Senior Dillon Ortman continued his strong work on the mound as Auburn edged Arkansas 201 in an SEC baseball game.

Fayetteville, Ark.--Another strong pitching performance by senior right-hander Dillon Ortman sparked Auburn to a 2-1 victory to open a three-game SEC baseball series vs. the Arkansas Razorbacks on Friday night.

The game was tight the entire way, ending with a bases-loaded fly out to center field off of Auburn closer Terrance Dedrick, who got out of the jam after Ortman was pulled with one out and a runner on second base in the ninth inning.

Ortman scattered six hits while improving his record to 8-2, the most wins for any SEC pitcher this season.

Auburn improved its record to 24-19 overall and 8-11 in SEC play. The Razorbacks fell to 27-17 and 9-10 in the league.

"It's a lot of fun," Ortman said of his new role with the team this year as an SEC starting pitcher. "Coach (Sunny) Golloway has a lot of confidence in me and I have a lot of confidence."

Ortman, who made a change in his pitching delivery last summer while playing in the Cape Cod League, had just five Auburn victories prior to his senior season.

"The defense played great tonight and we skated out two runs, and that was enough," Ortman added.

Golloway had high praise for his team's pitching. "Dillon Ortman and Terrance Dedrick were really, really special tonight," the coach said.

"Friday night hasn't been our problem," Golloway added. "We have won five of seven Friday nights. If it was just a Friday night league we would be in first place."

The teams will play doubleheader on Saturday because of the threat of a rainout for Sunday. The first pitch for the twinbill is set for 4:05 p.m. CDT. "I told our guys we have a long day tomorrow and we have got to come out ready to play," said Golloway.

The Auburn coach noted he has been pleased with his team's pitching and defense, adding the Tigers have played good baseball in those areas for the last eight games. "Unfortunately, we have lost four of them by one run," he said.

"On the offensive side, we still have a long ways to go and we are going to get better at it," the coach added after the Tigers finished the game with just four hits.

Trey Killian pitched a strong game for the home team, allowing just two unearned runs in eight innings, but he fell to 2-7 with the loss.

Auburn didn't get a hit until fourth inning when Daniel Robert and Damon Haecker led off with back-to-back singles. However, the Tigers couldn't score as an execution error helped sidetrack the inning when Haecker was out trying to advance on a failed hit-and-run play with Robert running back to second base.

Robert moved to third base on a wild pitch with one out. He had a chance to score on another wild pitch, but decided not to break for the plate. Damek Tomscha then popped out and Blake Austin took a called strike three to end the threat.

The only Arkansas run came in the fifth inning as the Razorbacks opened the frame with back-to-back singles. Michael Bernal drove home a run with a single after a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third.

The Tigers prevented more damage when Haecker's throw from left field to the plate cut down catcher Jake Wise at home for the third out.

Ebert opened the sixth inning by reaching first base on a throwing error by shortstop Bernal. Brett Bining's sacrifice bunt moved him to second.

A ground ball that hit the pitcher and was fielded by the shortstop resulted in out two moving Ebert to third base, where he scored on a single to right field by Haecker.

The Tigers added the winning run on a ground ball up the middle by Austin. The shortstop made a nice play to get the ball, but his throw to second for the force out was ruled an error. Haecker scored from second as the catcher dropped the ball on a close play at the plate.

In the bottom of the ninth inning leadoff hitter Andrew Benintendi drew a walk on what looked like it could have been called strike three. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt.

Dedrick then got the call from the bullpen. He walked Brian Anderson on four pitches before Michael Gunn hit a fly out to J.J. Shaffer in the right field corner, allowing the runners to tag and move to second and third base.

Fisher was walked intentionally to load the bases before pinch-hitter Clark Eagan ended the game with a fly ball to center field.

Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said the loss was a tough one for his team. "The later you get in the season they get a little bit tougher, especially when we have been playing so well. Trey pitched well. I thought Ortman pitched extremely well. We had a couple of chances."

If the Tigers can win at least one game on Saturday it will be their fifth consecutive series victory vs. the Razorbacks.

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