After a defensive 2-1 victory for the Arkansas baseball team (22-9, 6-4) Friday in game one, the No. 5 Razorbacks shut down the No. 13 Auburn Tigers (23-8, 4-6), 13-2, in the second game of the weekend series at Bogle Park on April 7.
Both teams switched through multiple pitchers throughout the day. Arkansas started off with junior Kacey Murphy. Auburn batters mustered five hits, and two runs were scored with the junior on the mound. He also had seven strikeouts and had two errors. Junior Barrett Loseke stepped in for Murphy in the top of the eighth. With Loseke, only one hit was registered. He also struck out one Tiger.
Razorback senior outfielder Luke Bonfield praised Murphy’s consistency.
“He’s a dog on the mound,” Bonfield said. “He’s going to gut it out for us.”
Auburn had difficulty with pitchers, as there were five who came in throughout the night. Sophomore Davis Daniel started and had four hits and four runs as well as three errors. After four runs from the Razorbacks, freshman Jack Owen took charge in the bottom of the third. While only one hit was made, the Hogs scored another four runs on the Auburn defense along with four errors. Owen wasn’t the only pitcher in the inning, as junior Welby Malczewski came in with zero outs. Malczewski wasn’t the strong point for the Tigers. Arkansas had seven hits and scored three additional three runs. He was the first pitcher to strike out a Razorback batter.
Malczewski pitched the most for Auburn, but he was replaced in the bottom of the sixth by senior Corey Herndon. The Tigers continued to allow hits and runs, with four and two respectfully. He did have the most strikeouts, leading with three. Entering the Razorbacks’ last at-bats during the bottom of the eighth, the final pitcher came in for Auburn. Freshman Ryan Hoerter delivered the last few pitches. He allowed only one more hit.
The Hogs went to town at the platee. Every starter had at least a hit and a scored a run. Junior shortstop Jax Biggers, freshman third basemen Casey Martin, freshman left fielder Heston Kjerstad and sophomore first baseman Jordan McFarland hit the ball one time. Bonfield, junior catcher Grant Koch and senior second basemen Carson Shaddy each recorded two hits. Junior right fielder Eric Cole and sophomore center fielder Dominic Fletcher led in hits with three each. Backup third baseman Jack Kenley also had a hit.
Arkansas ran through home plate a plethora of times. The first inning saw the first two runs made by Cole and Biggers. Fletcher and McFarland added two more during the bottom of the second. The third inning was huge for the Razorbacks. Four runs from Kjerstad and Koch, as well as two more from Fletcher and McFarland, gave the Hogs a huge 8-0 lead over the Tigers. Auburn kept Arkansas scoreless until the sixth inning in which Bonfield scored his first run and Kjerstad and Koch scored again. With a guaranteed win entering the eighth, McFarland and Shaddy added insult to injury and scored two more runs on the Tigers.
The Tigers’ offense wasn’t productive until the top of the fourth. Leading off for the Tigers, freshman left fielder Steven Williams hit a home run down the right field. Immediately after him, junior catcher Brett Wright hit the ball to left field, making back-to-back homers for Auburn.
Murphy wasn’t surprised to see something like that from Auburn, he said.
“It’s the SEC,” Murphy said. “[There is] good competition and good hitters.”
Even though the Hogs locked up a series win over the Tigers, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn isn’t putting in backups, he said.
“Not at all,” Van Horn said. “We try to win every game and put the guys out there that are playing well.”
The series finale for Arkansas and Auburn is April 8 at Baum Stadium. The first pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. The game will air live on the SEC Network.