FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Game two of the Arkansas-Auburn series went the way of the hometown team on Friday night, with the Razorbacks taking down the Tigers, 6-5, thanks to some late-night heroics by the Hog bats.
Baseball America’s No. 1 squad was led by a team-effort that saw four different players record an RBI and three bullpen arms hold Auburn to just two runs in over six innings of work. Arkansas improved to 21-4 on the season, including 6-2 in the SEC, with Friday night’s win.
Auburn starter Jack Owen continued the Tigers’ dominant pitching from Thursday night into Friday, dealing 5.1 scoreless innings and allowing his squad to claim a 4-0 lead before his departure. The Razorback offense came alive with him gone, however, pouncing on the Tiger bullpen in the seventh and rallying for five runs to grab the lead heading into the eighth.
The Tigers answered the call the following inning, knotting the game up at five, but there was no denying Arkansas on Friday, as the Hogs produced a run off of a wild pitch in the bottom half of the frame to reclaim a one-run advantage.
Razorback reliever Kevin Kopps was once again phenomenal in relief, punching out two to earn the save for the Hogs. Zebulon Vermillion lasted 2.2 innings in the starting effort and was relieved by Peyton Pallette, who dazzled Friday night, allowing just one run on two hits in 4.1 innings of work while notching five strikeouts.
The crucial seventh inning was kickstarted by Christian Franklin’s double off the right-field wall, awakening the Baum-Walker faithful. Base knocks by Cayden Wallace and Casey Opitz followed to bring the Hogs within two runs.
In one of the biggest at-bats of the game, pinch-hitter Zack Gregory took Auburn reliever Richard Fitts to deep left, coasting into third with an RBI triple. Robert Moore tied the game later in the inning with a bullet single back up the middle to give the Hogs a one-run, 5-4 lead.
After a game-tying home run by Tiger outfielder Steven Williams, the Razorbacks worked a couple walks and loaded the bases with one out in the eighth. Wallace scored from third on a wild pitch, which proved to be the game-winning run.
The Hogs eye another SEC series win tomorrow. Arkansas and Auburn will meet for the weekend’s rubber match at 2 p.m. Saturday from inside Baum-Walker Stadium 0n SEC Network+.