Hogs Dump Tigers In Game One

Arkansas batted around in both the first and fourth innings on the way to a runaway victory Friday night.

Fayetteville, Ark.--Arkansas scored 10 runs in the fourth inning to break open a close game on the way to a 18-5 win over the Auburn Tigers in the first of three games between the Western Division rivals. The loss drops Auburn to 33-21 overall and 14-14 in SEC play while the Hogs improve to 29-23, 12-13 in the conference. The loss leaves Auburn one win or one Mississippi State loss away from clinching an SEC Tournament berth. The Bulldogs and Ole Miss Rebels were rained out Friday night and will play a doubleheader on Saturday.

Things got off to an ominous start as Auburn starter Colby Paxton didn't make it out of the first inning before being pulled in favor of reliever Cory Dueitt which set the stage for a long night for the Auburn pitching staff. Throwing 38 pitches in the first inning and retiring just two Arkansas hitters, Paxton never found the groove as the Razorbacks jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead thanks in large part to a two-run home run by Michael Conner.

Auburn would mount an early charge though as Javon Moran singled in the third inning and Bobby Huddleston followed with a long home run to right field that cut the lead to just one. That came after the Tigers had scratched across a run in the second inning most due to three walks from Arkansas starter Charlie Isaacson. Both teams would add a single run in their next at-bat and just like that Auburn was in business trailing only 5-4 heading to the bottom of the fourth.

Dueitt, whose longest outing since early in the season when he was a starter is two and two/thirds innings, was on a roll coming into the fourth. Allowing just two hits and a run, both in the third, the Auburn coaching staff was hoping to get one more inning out of him before going to the bullpen in favor of Mike Mueller or Arnold Hughey. They never got that chance.

The Razorbacks used a lead-off walk to jump all over Dueitt. A pair of singles followed the walk, the second by Conner adding his third RBI, before Nick Pitts plated the second run of the inning with a sacrifice fly. That brought Ken Clayton out of the Auburn bullpen hoping to keep the game within striking distance.

Again it just wasn't to be as a single, walk and double followed to chase Clayton from the game and enter Sean Jones. With the infield in, Jones got a sharp ground ball right at Scott Schade at first base but he couldn't handle it, deflecting it into left field for a double that scored another Arkansas run. After a strikeout, the Razorbacks collected four straight hits off Jones before he got another strikeout to close the inning. When the dust had settled Arkansas had collected nine hits and scored 10 runs to put the game away. The Hogs would add three more runs and Auburn one to make the final score 18-5.

The Tigers will send junior Levale Speigner to the mound on Saturday to face Gary Hogan Jr. from Arkansas. Speigner is 7-6 with a 4.84 ERA while Hogan is 3-6 with an ERA of 5.00. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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