AU BASEBALL: Tigers can’t hold early lead vs. Hogs

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — After leading for the first four innings, Auburn hit a wall.

Arkansas, however, ran right through it in a 9-4 win over the Tigers at Baum Stadium on Friday night.

After going up 4-0 in the top of the fifth inning, Auburn didn’t score again the rest of the night.

For what the Tigers (28-15, 10-9 SEC) were lacking on offense, Arkansas (35-8, 14-5) certainly made up for, as they put together three, three-run innings to stay atop the SEC West standings.

It was Auburn’s fifth Friday night loss in seven SEC series this season.

“I thought there was two halves of the baseball game,” Auburn head coach John Pawlowski said. “You look at the first half of the game and we did some really positive things and then in the second half we made one mistake here and there and they capitalized on it, and good teams do that.”

Arkansas starter Drew Smyly ran his record to 7-0 by throwing his second complete game of the year, striking out nine without issuing a walk. Of the four runs he allowed, only two were earned.

Michael Hurst (2-1) took the loss, as he allowed five runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings, entering with a 4-run lead and a man on first with none out in relief of Cory Luckie.

Auburn took advantage of a pair of Arkansas errors to take a 2-0 lead in the third. Ryan Jenkins started the inning with a grounder to short that went through Arkansas shortstop Matt Reynolds’ legs. Justin Hargett then dropped down a sac bunt, but the lob throw from Smyly to first was high, allowing Hargett to get on as well.

A one-out single to right by Trent Mummey loaded the bases, and then Hunter Morris drove in two with single to left for his 54th and 55th RBI of the year.

Mummey’s eighth home run of the year gave Auburn a 4-0 lead in the top of the fifth.

Luckie threw four scoreless innings before being lifted following a leadoff single in the fifth. In four-plus innings he surrendered five hits and a walk and struck out two, though he would be charged for a run as Brett Eibner hit a two-out, three-run home run off of Hurst down the line in left into the home bullpen to make it 4-3 in the fifth. The home run was Eibner’s 15th of the season and eighth against SEC opponents.

Arkansas went up 6-4 with a three-run sixth, highlighted by Collin Kuhn’s two-RBI single through a drawn-in infield with runners on second and third and one out. Reynolds had tied the game with a RBI double down the line in right, scoring Monk Kreder with the first run of the inning before Zach Blatt allowed a hit to Kuhn when he entered for Hurst.

Arkansas tacked on three more in the eighth on when a passed ball allowed James McCann to score, Bo Bigham’s sac bunt scored Reynolds and Zack Cox singled home Bigham.

Fradejas extended his hitting streak to 24 games when he led off the game with an infield single, beating the throw from third. His hitting streak matches the longest put together in the SEC this season, which was done by Arkansas’ Cox.

The loss was just the second for Auburn when facing a left-handed starter, with both losses coming on the road.

Game 2 of the three-game series is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. today. Arkansas will start freshman lefty Randall Fant (3-0, 2.60), while Auburn has not determined its starter.

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