Arkansas first baseman Chad Spanberger took the field on Thursday night in Hoover, Alabama, looking to lead his team to a SEC Tournament victory, after a heartbreaking loss to Mississippi State earlier in the day. The Granite City, Illinois, native was all the Hogs needed to get back into the win column.
The junior hit three homeruns, accounting for 7 RBI, en route to a 12-0 Razorback thrashing of the Tigers. Spanberger's three homers and seven RBI is an SEC Tournament record.
“We dug in such a deep, deep hole, Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. That was about as complete a ballgame as I’ve seen against us in our time here. I just thought it was too big a hole. I thought the third home run, the grand slam, was kind of the dagger, and I didn’t see us respond much to that.”
Auburn pitcher Davis Daniel looked to pick up where he left off in last weekends start versus Ole Miss. After giving up a solo-shot to Spanberger in the first inning, Daniel retired six Razorbacks in a row and seemed to be getting into a rhythm.
The success wouldn't last for Daniel.
The right hander faced Spanberger again in the third inning and gave up a two run homer. Arkansas would go on to load the the bases in the fourth inning, bringing Spanberger to the plate. Auburn would go to the bullpen, but did not have an answer for Spanberger. The first baseman continued his historic day and bombed a grand slam to right center, to make the score 8-0 in favor of the Razorbacks.
“I thought the first two home runs Spanberger hit were crucial, Thompson said. We kind of thought this was go time...But I just didn’t think we ever got engaged in the ballgame. It’s kind of hard to believe looking back that seven walks and we can’t score a run or eventually get a hit.”
Auburn would threaten throughout the game, drawing seven walks and putting nine runners on base. However, a trio of Razorback pitchers would not allow a hit from the Tigers. This was the first time in SEC Tournament history there has been a no-hitter, and the first time in Auburn history the Tigers have failed to record a hit.
Auburn has been eliminated from SEC Tournament play, and will now wait until Monday to find out where they will travel to participate in a NCAA Tournament Regional.