Fayetteville, Ark.--Auburn's feast or famine offense was again the story on Sunday as the Tigers were only able to get a solo home run by Jackson Burgreen on offense as Arkansas completed the three-game sweep with a 3-1 victory. With the game tied in the eighth inning the Razorbacks got a two-out, two-run single by Michael Bernal for the eventual game winner. Auburn (11-13, 1-5) got a pair of runners on base in each of the last three innings, but couldn’t get anything across in the loss.
Auburn's offensive problems continued on Sunday as the Tigers couldn’t give starter Cole Lipscomb any support on the mound after getting several opportunities to take control of the game. Pitching six complete innings, Lipscomb allowed just three hits and one run while striking out six. Auburn’s bullpen allowed a pair of runs in two innings with Izaac Yarbrough taking the loss, allowing two runs on two hits in one and one/third innings.
“It’s the best outing I’ve ever seen him have,” Thompson said of Lipscomb. “I thought we needed it and he gave us everything he had. We wanted to leave him in there as long as he could, but on the last two hitters he got to two strikes and left some balls up. It was kind of time.
“I tell you what, we met with a long time before the game with our pitching staff and for the most part we battled like crazy,” he added. “We kept switching guys in and out and doing everything we could to keep us in the ballgame. They wound up getting a hit with the bases loaded and that was the difference in the ballgame. I have very little to zero regret about today. I thought we competed our hearts out, especially on the mound.”
At the plate Anfernee Grier had four hits for the Tigers while Josh Palacios added a pair of singles for the Tigers as they managed 10 hits. Again it was runners left on base that hurt the Tigers as they left 12 on Sunday in a game that just one run here or there could have been the difference between winning and losing.
“We left some guys on base,” Thompson said. “I think offense was going to be limited today with that front moving through. It was pretty cold out here today and you could see that on both sides. We just battled and didn’t cash in. We just didn’t string enough offense together today to give us a chance.”
The only run of the game for the Tigers came with one swing of the bat to start the third inning when Burgreen led off with a home run to right field. Auburn would eventually load the bases later in the inning with two outs, but a Blake Logan ended the threat for the Tigers, something that was an all-too-common theme for the weekend.
With Lipscomb still rolling Auburn had a chance to add to its lead in the top of the seventh when Grier and Palacios both singled with two outs to bring Jordan Ebert to the plate. Facing Arkansas closer Zach Jackson, Ebert hit a ground ball to the right side to end the inning and keep Auburn’s lead at a single run.
After dominating the game Lipscomb allowed back-to-back singles by Rick Nomura and Luke Bonfield to open the seventh to bring power left-hander Chad Spanberger to the plate. That was all for Lipscomb as Braymer came on to face the lefty, but his walk loaded the bases with still nobody out.
The hero of the weekend so far for Arkansas, Bernal singled to center field to put the Razorbacks on the scoreboard and keep the bases loaded with nobody out. Getting an infield fly for the first out, Braymer gave way to Yarbrough and the reliever did his job by retiring the next two batters to keep the game tied.
Once again Auburn threatened in the eighth after a one-out single by Blake Logan and a two-out single from Kyler Deese, but Jackson got Burgreen on strikes to keep the game tied at one. Arkansas did the same in the bottom half of the inning with a pair of one-out singles to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. A walk loaded the bases before Yarbrough got a ground ball to Niko Buentello at first. His throw to Logan at the plate cut down the runner for the second out.
That brought Bernal to the plate. Auburn’s killer for the weekend, the right-hander faced reliever Gabe Klobosits and laced a single through the left side to score two runs and give the Razorbacks a 3-1 lead going to the ninth.
Auburn would again threaten as Grier singled and Ebert worked a two-out walk, but Buentello’s fly ball to left field was caught at the warning track to end the game.
Auburn returns to action Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery when the Tigers face off against Alabama in the Capital City Classic.