Tigers Rally For Series Victory Over Arkansas

Fayetteville, Ark.—Auburn scored four in the eighth, four in the ninth and two in the 10th to overcome a six-run deficit and beat Arkansas 12-10 and take a 2-1 series victory, its first in Fayetteville since 2000.

The Tigers were down to their final out in the ninth and trailing by four runs before five consecutive batters reached base. A single off the bat of Kevin Patterson eventually tied the game at 10-10. In the 10th inning it was a bloop single by Brian Fletcher that scored two to give the Tigers a 12-10 advantage. Michael Hurst sent the Razorbacks down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 10th as Auburn won its third consecutive SEC series to pull even in conference play at 6-6.

"All of the credit is to our players," said head coach Tom Slater. "They did a great job and they never hung their heads. They were in the game the entire time.

"They just showed a lot of heart just battling all the way through that game," he added.

After a pair of two-run homeruns in the third inning, the Razorbacks led 7-2 for most of the game and extended their lead to 8-2 in the sixth. Auburn had several chances throughout the game to cut into the deficit, but weren't able to push runs across the plate until the top of the eighth.

Matt Hall drew a walk, Mike Bianucci had his only hit of the weekend and Hunter Morris took a walk to load the bases with no outs. Hall scored Auburn's first run since Morris and Fletchers' solo homeruns in the second inning on a flyout by Joseph Sanders. Fletcher, who was 8-12 on the weekend, doubled home Morris, and Patterson lined one back up the middle to make the score 8-6. The Tigers had all of the momentum on their side when that took a huge turn as Ben Jones' pinch hit was a rally-killing 5-4-3 double play.

Arkansas then added a pair of insurance runs against Bryan Woodall in the bottom half of the inning to put what appeared to be the final nail in the coffin, but the Tigers weren't done just yet.

Down to their final out with Justin Hargett and Hall on base, Morris delivered a two-run double to keep the Tigers alive. Sanders came to the plate as the game-tying run down 10-8 and he grounded one to shortstop Scott Lyons, which should have been the final out of the game. A throwing error allowed Sanders to reach second and pull within a run at 10-9. Fletcher batted next and also hit a roller to Lyons, but he couldn't field it cleanly and Auburn was still alive.

Dave van Horn pulled Travis Hill in favor of Stephen Richards, but he gave up a single through the right side to Patterson which tied the game at 10-10.

Evan Crawford's outing on the mound for Auburn lasted just two batters in the bottom of the ninth as he gave up a lead-off walk and a sacrifice bunt. Slater went to Hurst, who forced a popup by Tim Smalling and a strikeout by Chase Leavitt to end the Arkansas scoring threat.

Auburn had scored eight in its previous two innings and didn't let up in the 10th. Hall, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games in the ninth, reached for the third consecutive inning with a one-out walk. Bianucci struck out, but the Tigers' still had some two-out magic left. Morris was hit by a pitch, Sanders drew a walk and Fletcher came through again with a two-run single to give the Tigers their first lead of the game.

"KP (Patterson) and Fletch have both been swinging the bat really well," Slater said of his timely hitters. "Both of those kids have a lot of heart and a lot of character. We really believe in those two as bat-swingers. They did a tremendous job today and each of them had good at bats all weekend long. We reminded Kevin before his at bat against Richards that he had singled against him yesterday."

After a strikeout and flyout to start the bottom of the 10th, Hurst struck out Lyons for the final out of the game.

Auburn improved to 20-12 overall and 6-6 in SEC play while the Razorbacks dropped to 17-13 and 3-9 against conference competition. The Tigers lost the opening SEC series of the year 3-0 to Florida, but have taken series against Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas in 2-1 fashion.

Auburn starting pitcher Bradley Hendrix had a rough outing going just two and two-thirds and allowing six earned runs. The Razorbacks picked up three in the first and it could have been worse if not for the Auburn defense. Hall took away one run by throwing a runner out at the plate and Trent Mummey threw another out trying to take second.

Morris, who was three for three with two walks, four runs and three RBI, got the Tigers on the board in the second with a solo shot and Fletcher followed with his own solo homer. In the Arkansas half of the third, Smalling hit a two-run homer against Hendrix and Taylor Thompson's first pitch of the afternoon was a also a two-run shot off the bat of Brett Eibner. However, Thompson settled in and kept Arkansas scoreless until the sixth. He was locked in a pitcher's dual for the middle portion of the game with hard-throwing Kendall Korbal until the eighth inning when Razorback reliever Shaun Seibert allowed four earned in just a third of an inning of work.

Hurst picked up the victory for the Tigers while Richards was credited with the loss for Arkansas.

Auburn had 12 runs on 14 hits and committed no errors while Arkansas scored its 10 runs on 15 hits while committing three errors.

The Tigers' next game is on Tuesday at 6 p.m. CDT against Georgia State. South Carolina visits Plainsman Park next Friday at 6 p.m.

Box Score

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories