Arkansas Ace Too Much For Tigers to Handle

The baseball Tigers continued their losing streak as they dropped game one of their three-game series in Fayetteville.

Fayetteville, Ark.--Arkansas ace pitcher Nick Schmidt led the way as the Razorbacks took a 6-3 SEC West baseball victory over slumping Auburn on Thursday night.

It was the eighth straight loss for the Tigers, who haven't won since they defeated Alabama on April 29th in the second game of that series in Tuscaloosa.

Schmidt set a personal record with 15 strikeouts vs. the Tigers, who took a 2-0 lead in the second inning. However, the Razorbacks trumped that with three in the bottom half of the inning and never trailed the rest of the night.

Schmidt allowed seven hits and three earned runs in eight innings of work before giving way to reliever Devin Collins to start the ninth inning. Schmidt improved his record to 9-2.

Catcher Brian Walker's three-run homer was the big blow in the second inning for the Razorbacks.

Auburn got its runs in the second on a solo homer by Josh Donaldson and an RBI single by Justin Bristow to score Andy Bennett, who had reached base on a walk.

Nobody scored again until Walker homered in the fourth inning to start a two-run inning for the home team. The Razorbacks added a run in the sixth off of AU reliever Andy Masten to stretch the lead to 6-2.

Auburn cut the lead to 6-3 with one run in the top of seventh. An infield single by Tyler Johnstone scored Jeff Boutwell, who had singled to open the inning.

Freshman Paul Burnside, who got the start for the Tigers, took the loss to fall to 2-3. He gave up eight hits, three walks and five earned runs in four innings on the mound.

"He just got behind too much on the pitch counts," said Auburn coach Tom Slater. "Against a good team, any team really, you can't get behind in the counts."

Masten pitched the other four innings and allowed one run on three hits. "I thought Andy did a tremendous job coming out of the bullpen," Slater said. "Andy threw strikes early in the count, allowing him to use his changeup and his slider. He did a really nice job once again on a Friday of saving our bullpen."

Coach Tom Slater

Russell Dixon and Bristow had two hits apiece to the lead the Tigers, who had eight hits.

Auburn falls to 22-31 overall and is 9-18 in the SEC. Arkansas improved to 36-17 overall and 16-12 in the conference.

Game two of the final series of the season for Coach Tom Slater's Tigers is set for 7 p.m. CDT on Friday.

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