Jaxon Wiggins vs. Auburn

Arkansas starting pitcher Jaxon Wiggins hurls a pitch home during the Hogs’ 7-4 win Sunday win over Auburn. The Hogs took the two of three games in the weekend road series, maintaining their position at the top of the Southeastern Conference West Division standings.

Facing the prospect of the Hogs' third road series loss of 2022 in a rubber match at Auburn, sophomore Jaxon Wiggins tossed a gem and the offense put up seven runs to defeat the Tigers in front of their home crowd. With the series win, Arkansas maintained its lead in the Southeastern Conference West Division standings.

Coming off his worst start of the season against Mississippi, in which he allowed four runs, senior Connor Noland once again struggled to keep opposing bats at bay in the series opener.

Both teams were scoreless through the first two innings, but Auburn got on the board in the bottom of the third following an uncharacteristic error by senior Jalen Battles. After sitting back to collect a chopper on an easier hop, he was forced to rush his throw across the infield and sailed it over senior Brady Slavens, allowing a pair of unearned runs.

Following a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the fourth and two more runs for the Tigers on a bunt single and RBI single into left, Noland’s night was over after four innings.

The Hogs responded by putting up two runs of their own in the next half-inning, but a third was taken off the scoreboard after a questionable runner’s interference call on graduate senior Michael Turner while he was going for second base.

Senior Kole Ramage entered the game on the mound to relieve Noland and allowed a solo home run in his lone inning of work.

Sophomore Jace Bohrofen closed the Razorbacks’ deficit to just two runs by launching a no-doubt two-run dinger way over the right field wall in the top of the sixth.

Senior Evan Taylor held the Tigers scoreless for the first time in three innings with a 1-2-3 frame, setting Arkansas up to have its biggest offensive inning in the top of the seventh.

After graduate senior Michael Turner scored on an error by the pitcher, freshman Kendall Diggs crushed his third homer of 2022 with a go-ahead three-run bomb.

Although Auburn hung a couple runs on Taylor’s tab in the bottom of the next frame, the Hogs notched their fourth consecutive inning with a crooked number via another three-run shot by Moore over the green monster in left field.

Freshman Brady Tygart tossed 1 ⅔ scoreless innings to close the game out and give Arkansas an 11-8 series-opening victory.

“Just a really good job by our team of kind of hanging in there,” head coach Dave Van Horn said. “For five innings we didn’t look like we were a very good team. We made a lot of mistakes. Defensively, we didn’t field very well. Didn’t pitch very well. It was all going their way.”

Auburn managed to force a Sunday rubber match with a narrow 5-3 win on Saturday.

Graduate senior Braydon Webb drove in the first run of the night in the top of the second with a single through the left side of the infield.

Auburn quickly responded with Brooks Carlson’s second solo home run of the series in the bottom of the second.

Freshman Hagen Smith surrendered his second round-tripper of the outing after Sonny DiChiara crushed a solo shot of his own over the left-center field wall. Although he came back with a scoreless fourth inning on the mound, Van Horn elected to pull Smith from the game and utilize the bullpen for the remainder of the contest.

After a leadoff double from sophomore Cayden Wallace and a productive groundout by Turner to start the top of the fifth, junior Robert Moore picked up his fourth RBI of the series with a groundout of his own to second to tie the game at two.

Both squads were scoreless in the sixth, but each put up a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly from Moore and a solo homer from Blake Rambusch.

Tygart came into the game to finish off the seventh inning, but he came back out for the eighth. After walking a batter and giving up a single, Auburn took the lead on a bunt. Tygart was able to field it, but his throw home was off the mark and the Tigers put up their fourth run.

“They tried a squeeze bunt, just a safety bunt,” Van Horn said. “It really wasn’t a very good bunt. He spun and made a wild throw. Just kind of rushed it — and he had to rush. But if he makes the throw he’s out at the plate.”

Junior Zack Morris was called on to limit any further damage, but the Tigers scored one more run on the Hogs with a sacrifice fly.

Arkansas went down in order in the ninth, bringing the series to a tie going into Sunday’s finale.

Although the Razorbacks continued to struggle in the field on Sunday, committing three more errors and allowing two unearned runs, the bats and arms did more than enough to win the game and clinch the series.

An error on a grounder by Wallace allowed both of the unearned runs to score on a home run in the bottom of the first, but he and Battles evened the score in the second with a pair of RBI knocks.

After the Hogs plated three more in the third from a Webb no-doubter, DiChiara blasted a solo shot off Wiggins in the bottom of the frame, but that was all the damage Auburn could do to the hurler.

Scoring once more in the fifth and sixth, Arkansas provided plenty of run support for Wiggins as he went five innings and collected his sixth win of the season.

Redshirt sophomore Will McEntire was awarded the first chance of his career to pitch against SEC competition and showed out, only allowing one run in 3 ⅓ innings on the bump.

Taylor had to come in and clean up the final two outs with the game-tying run at the plate in the ninth, but he did his job and Arkansas won game three with a score of 7-4.

“It was really big to take two out of three,” Van Horn said. “It's big for our confidence. It's big for just winning on the road.”

Arkansas does not have any midweek games on the schedule for the remainder of the season, and its next matchup is a home series against Vanderbilt starting Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and the game can be streamed on SEC Network+

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