Five different Auburn pitchers combined to allow 12 runs on 17 hits and walked five as the Razorbacks were never threatened after the first. Coach John Pawlowski said Sunday's game topped off a frustrating weekend for his team against Arkansas.
"Anytime you lost three games on a weekend, especially in conference play, it's very disappointing," Pawlowski said. "I'm disappointed for our program. I know the kids are very disappointed too. They're not pleased with the way they played. We've got to get better. Arkansas came in here and beat us in every phase of the game. Consequently they walk away with a sweep. We're sitting here and have to evaluate and continue to make adjustments."
While Auburn's offensive numbers look solid with six runs on 12 hits, four runs and seven hits came in the final two innings with Auburn trailing 12-2. Catcher Tony Caldwell was one of the few bright spots for the Tigers with three hits, two runs scored, and one RBI for the game. He said the weekend turned out nothing like he expected and he's ready to put it behind him and move forward.
"The main thing about baseball on a big weekend like this in SEC play is you've got to bring your ‘A' game and we obviously didn't bring that," Caldwell said. "We just had some bad approaches at the plate. The main things are pitching and defense and we didn't have that. We had it the first night, but not on Saturday and Sunday. Overall we weren't there.
"Coach Pawlowski just told us to flush it," he added. "He said to come back this week ready to play. That's important for us to do because we understand we've got to work hard every day and get in the weight room and play hard on the field."
On the mound Auburn starter Paul Burnside lasted just two and two/thirds innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits along with two walks. Scott Shuman came on in relief, allowing two runs on one hit in two/thirds. Rus Harper gave up four earned on seven hits in two and two/thirds while Chris O'Neil allowed a run in two innings and Ty Kelley pitched a scoreless ninth.
Arkansas was led by Ben Tschepikow's four hits while Chase Leavitt and Ryan Cisterna both added three hits for the Razorbacks. Starter Drew Smyly picked up the win, allowing one earned run on five hits in five and one/thirds innings.
Arkansas got the offense started early as with two outs and nobody on in the first, Tschepikow lined a single off the leg of Burnside to begin another two out rally for the Razorbacks. In the first two games Arkansas scored 12 of its 13 runs with two outs and continued that trend in the first as Jacob House singled on a hit and run to put runners on first and third.
A walk to Andy Wilkins loaded the bases for Zack Cox. He singled to center to score two and put the Razorbacks on the board. Andrew Darr followed with a double to score two more and make it 4-0 Razorbacks after a half-inning of play.
Auburn finally got going in the bottom of the second as a one-out single by Caldwell and a walk to Wes Gilmer put the Tigers in business, but it took an Arkansas mistake for the Tigers to score. Justin Hargett hit a sharp ground ball to first base where Wilkins turned and threw to second for the first out. Shortstop Scott Lyons' throw to first for the double play was wild, allowing Caldwell to score and cut the lead to 4-1.
The Razorbacks extended the lead in the fourth as Lyon walked to lead off and Tschepikow singled to center. Trying to cut down the runner, Trent Mummey threw to third late. That allowed Tschepikow to go to second and a Sanders' throw there was wide, allowing Lyon to score and Tschepikow to move to third. Wilkins followed with a sacrifice fly to center and just like that the lead ballooned to 6-1.
Two more runs in the sixth on a Lyons double and Tschepikow triple followed by a Wilkins single made it 8-1 before Auburn finally scored again. In the bottom of the inning Ben Jones singled and scored moments later on a Casey McElroy double. Now trailing 8-2, Auburn couldn't contain the Arkansas offense enough to get back in the game.
Adding three runs in the seventh and another in the eighth, the Razorbacks built the lead to 12-2 before Auburn showed some late life. Leading off the eighth, Joseph Sanders doubled and scored on a one-out single by Caldwell. Kevin Patterson then reached on an error by the left fielder to put two on for the Tigers. Two out hits by Trent Mummey and Brian Fletcher tacked on three more to make it 12-6 Hogs. That would be enough as Auburn had three hits in the bottom of the ninth, but failed to score.
The Tigers return to action Tuesday night at 6 p.m. when they travel to Birmingham to face the Samford Bulldogs. Wednesday night the team heads to Troy to face the Trojans, also scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.