Auburn baseball earned its first win of conference play this weekend on the road against top-ranked Arkansas. The Tigers have endured a difficult stretch of the season, dropping their first six contests and eight out of nine. Although Auburn failed to steal a series win against a premier opponent, the one win they'll be returning home with is enormous for the team's confidence.
Cody Greenhill led the way to a Thursday night win with his best outing of the season. Greenhill pitched for seven innings, tying his season best, and struck out five batters while allowing just one run. The Tigers closed out the Razorbacks to secure a 2-1 victory, the program's first win in Fayetteville since 2014.
"The offense stepped up. The defense played out of their mind," Greenhill said, praising the entire team for its determination against a championship-caliber foe. "It was definitely a team win."
The next two games didn't end as well for Auburn, as Arkansas rallied in both games to win each by a score of 6-5. Relief pitching struggled, negating multiple double plays over the course of both games.
"We kind of created the offense for them and just opened the door," said head coach Butch Thompson.
There are silver linings, though. Starting pitcher Jack Owen returned from injury for his first start of the season on Friday, giving the Tigers another ace pitcher to help carry the load. "Jack was just outstanding," said Thompson. Owen retired ten of the first eleven batters and faced just two over the minimum in 5.1 innings of play.
Offensively, the Tigers' bats showed promise, but struggled late in the game. Auburn recorded just one run after the sixth inning over the course of the series. Brody Moore shined with six hits, including a home run in the first game that ended up being the go-ahead run.
Overall, the Razorbacks showed why they are a consensus Top 5 team in most college baseball polls, never allowing themselves to get flustered and staying strong through the end. Arkansas emerges from the series with a 7-2 conference record, tied with Ole Miss for the top spot in the SEC West.
Auburn, meanwhile, falls to 1-8, tied for the bottom spot in the division with LSU. The Tigers return home to host Kennesaw State on Tuesday before a three-game home series against Mississippi State.