Taking advantage of five errors by Auburn, Arkansas had innings of four, four and five runs and pounded Tiger pitching for 16 hits on the day. Conversely Razorback starter Jay Sawatski allowed just one run on five hits in five innings to get the win while reliever Charley Boyce was perfect in two innings of work. Renfroe said the game just fell apart for Auburn early when the pitching didn't hold up, a problem for the Tigers all season.
"They jumped on us and once it got rolling we didn't have enough pitching left to be able to stop them," Renfroe said. "We needed somebody to be able to go a little farther than they were probably capable of and get late. It didn't happen."
The loss drops Auburn to 32-24 overall, 12-18 in SEC play, while Arkansas improves to 37-19 and 19-11 in conference play and earns the Hogs the Western Division crown. The Tigers must now wait and see if a miracle occurs and they get a bid into the NCAA Tournament. Despite a fantastic RPI rating in the low 20's, the chances appear slim for Auburn after finishing 4-12 in the last 16 SEC games.
"We know the RPI was 21 coming in and it's going to be good," Renfroe said. "Whether the committee is just going to say the best RPI's that went out and played good people, if that's going to matter we don't know. We'll have to make a plan on what we're going to do."
Arkansas didn't waste any time taking advantage of gifts from the Tigers as Auburn starter Mike Felix struggled with his control and didn't make it out of the first inning. Left fielder Jake Dugger walked to lead off the game and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Center fielder Casey Rowlett then walked as well to put the Tigers in a bind. Following a groundout to Felix, Scott Hode walked and that was it for Felix. Not able to take a chance, Renfroe went to Josh Bell in the bullpen. The move worked as Arkansas scored just one run on a groundout by Haas Pratt.
The Hogs added to the lead in the third thanks to some help from the Tigers. Leading off the inning, Dugger hit a ground ball back to Bell on the mound. Dropping the ball and rushing his throw, Bell threw the ball away at first and Dugger scampered to second. Trying to amend his mistake, Bell compounded it by throwing the ball into center field on a pick-off attempt. Now at third, Dugger scored on a ground ball by Rowlett to give Arkansas a 2-0 lead.
Auburn got one back in the fourth inning and missed a chance for more thanks to an outstanding defensive play by the Hogs. Playing in place of Sean Gamble, who was out with a hamstring injury, Ben Sprague singled to right field and moved all the way to third on a single by Clete Thomas. Shortstop Chuck Jeroloman then lifted a liner into right field that Sprague tagged on and headed for home. Stephen Robison made a strong throw to gun down Sprague at the plate for the double play. A Bell single plated Thomas just moments later and the Tigers had cut the lead to 2-1.
Just as quickly as Auburn got back in the game the Razorbacks took them out of it in the bottom of the inning. Pratt singled to right field to open the frame and Danny Hamblin followed with a single of his own to put runners on first and second. After a sacrifice bunt pinch-hitter Brett Hagedorn doubled to left to score both runners and put the Hogs up 4-1. The lead would balloon to five when Robison ripped a two-run shot over the left field wall and bring Bell's day to an end. Enter Michael Nix, but just for a moment. Two walks and a single would end his day quickly, but John Madden came on to get a double play to end the inning.
With Auburn struggling to score on the Hogs, things broke open in the sixth. With one out in the inning Dugger walked and Rowlett doubled to score Dugger. Rowlett moved up to third on an error by J.T. Williamson in right field, but it wouldn't matter as Clay Goodwin singled to center field to score him just moments later. A Hode double to left put runners on the corners and put an end to Madden's day as Cory Dueitt was next in line. The senior didn't fare much better as Pratt doubled to left to score both runs and put the Hogs up 10-1.
A three-up and three-down inning for Auburn gave Arkansas another chance to build on the lead in the seventh and that's what they did. Eventually chasing Dueitt for Jared Shore, the Hogs scored five more runs to push the lead to 15-1. The Tigers managed a run each in the eighth and ninth innings to make the final 15-3. It was the 10th time this season Auburn has allowed more than 10 runs in a game and the fifth time in the last 10 games.