While Auburn basketball was etching its name in Tigers history in Minneapolis, Auburn athletics had a busy weekend across the country.
Here's a roundup of the action from our Plainsman staff.
vs. Arkansas | 1-2 series loss
By Olivia Huskey and Jake Weese
After a 6-3 Game-1 win, No. 15 Auburn was unable to get the sweep for the day in a doubleheader against No. 9 Arkansas. The Tigers fell 9-6 in a 5-hour, 40-minute Game 2 that lasted 15 innings.
“I wanted that really bad for our guys,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “But I thought both teams were competing like crazy. It was just a wild one tonight.”
In Game 1, Auburn (23-8, 7-4 SEC) came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth. Ryan Bliss hit a single that scored both Edouard Julien and Conor Davis.
The Tigers took the 6-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth with back-to back doubles from Julien and Davis. Bliss hit another single to bring a runner home, and Steven Williams doubled to make it 6-3.
Elliott Anderson got the win for game one. He is 5-0 for the season. Cody Greenhill earned his seventh save. Kevin Kopps got the loss for that game.
Kopps earned the loss for the first game, but evened it out by earning the win for the Razorbacks in game two of the day.
Arkansas (23-7, 7-3 SEC) tied Game 2 at 4-4 in the top of the eighth. Auburn had a chance to prevent extra innings when it loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Julien struck out and sent the game into the tenth.
Auburn had another chance to walk it off in the tenth. For a moment, it did walk it off with a single from Matt Scheffler that scored Williams, but the play at home was reviewed. After originally being called safe and the Tigers taking to the field to celebrate, the play was overturned and the runner was called out at home to end the inning. Auburn had to regroup to go into the eleventh with the game still tied 4-4.
The Razorbacks took a 6-4 lead off of a two-run homer by Trevor Ezell in the top of the twelfth. Auburn answered with two unearned runs in the bottom half of the inning. The game was tied again, this time at 6-6.
Carson Skipper got the loss for the game after allowing a solo home run in the top of the fifteenth. The Razorbacks had back-to-back walks before Skipper was pulled for Garrett Wade. A double brought home the final two runs of the game, giving Arkansas the final 9-6 lead.
“I thought every player that was in the game today did something to help us and battled,” said Thompson.
Auburn had several opportunities to either tie the game or win it, but it could not come through with timely hits. The Tigers went 2-18 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners in scoring position on base.
“I think there was probably two or three instances there where we’re 90 feet away from winning the ball game, and it just didn’t happen, “ Thompson said.
Auburn fell behind early and wasn't able to recover Saturday when it fell to Arkansas in Game 3, 8-0.
Auburn falls to 23-9 overall and 7-5 in SEC play, while Arkansas leaves at 24-8 overall and 8-4 in the SEC.
"It's just hard when you're pitching behind. You just don't want to give up any more," Thompson said. "We never got into it offensively to give us any kind of spark. Julien had two hits, but other than that we were pretty quiet."
Freshman Richard Fitts (2-1, 4.84 ERA) lost in his in first career start. The right-hander pitched 4.1 innings allowing five runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
Fitts' impressive scoreless innings streak extended to 11.1 after facing the minimum through two innings and retiring the first batter in the third. Arkansas took the lead in the third with a two-RBI single from Heston Kjerstad.
Arkansas was not done adding to their lead, and in the fifth, it added three more runs off of a three-run homer to center field by Trevor Ezell.
Blake Schilleci made his second appearance of the week and pitched 0.2 scoreless innings of work. Kyle Gray contributed with a scoreless sixth inning before starting the seventh off with a walk. The walk proved costly as it later crossed home on an RBI double, and Arkansas lead 8-0 with a two-RBI base hit later in the inning.
Will Morrison pitched a season-high three innings to finish the game for Auburn.
Julien had two hits in the game including a team-best ninth double of the season. Ed Johnson recorded his first career hit with a pinch-hit single in the ninth.
Auburn faces Jacksonville State (15-14, 7-3 in the OVC) in a midweek non-conference matchup Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT at Plainsman Park.
vs. Tennessee | 2-1 series win
By Ben Key
Tannon Snow led the charge in Auburn’s 10-5 victory over No. 5 Tennessee on Friday.
The win marked Auburn’s first victory in Knoxville since 2011, snapping a six-game losing streak in the Volunteers home stadium.
Tannon Snow was the highlight of the game tallying a career high seven RBIs along with two home runs. She went 4-for-4 at the plate and became the first Auburn player to have seven RBIs in a game since Kasey Cooper did so against Arkansas on April 17, 2016.
Auburn came out with the early 2-0 lead in the first off of scores by Casey McCrackin and Kendall Veach. Tennessee answered in the bottom of the inning with two runs of its own and took the 5-2 lead in the bottom of the second.
Tennessee’s scoring stopped there as Ashlee Swindle, who replaced Handley in the circle in the bottom of the first, allowed only two hits for the remaining five innings. Swindle finished the night with two strikeouts, seven hits allowed and retired 12 straight Tennessee batters to end the game.
Auburn cut the deficit within one run in the third on Tannon Snow’s two-run homer. The score remained 5-4 until Tannon Snow hit another two-run homer in the fifth to put Auburn up 6-5. The Tigers secured their lead in the seventh inning adding four runs; again Tannon Snow displayed her prowess behind the plate with a three-run triple.
Auburn split the doubleheader against Tennessee en route to claiming its first series win in Knoxville since 2002. The Tigers won the first game, 3-0 and dropped the second, 8-1.
Auburn (32-8, 8-4 SEC) also shutout Tennessee for the first time since 2002, behind Chardonnay Harris’s first complete shutout game in SEC play. Harris pitched seven innings, finishing with seven strikeouts to four hits and one walk. The victory also marked the second ever Auburn series victory in Knoxville.
"We did some good things this morning and I told them before that last game that (Tennessee) would fight because it was the first time since 2002 that Auburn comes in to Tennessee and wins a series," said Auburn head coach Mickey Dean. "It just doesn't happen.”
The Tigers took the lead in the first game off of Tannon Snow’s homer in the second and pushed it to 2-0 after Kendall Veach’s 17th career home-run. Rachel Cook scored the final run for Auburn as Alyssa Rivera singled for the RBI.
Tennessee took the lead early in the weather-delayed second game with a two runs in the bottom of the first. Auburn’s Alyssa Rivera answered in the next inning with a solo homer, but this was the Tigers only score.
Another run wasn’t scored until the bottom of the fifth, when Tennessee added three more to its lead. Harris then entered the circle to relieve Swindle who started the second game. Tennessee scored its remaining runs off a three-run two-out homer in the sixth to seal the 8-1 victory.
Auburn now turns its focus to the South Carolina Gamecocks. The two teams will begin play at Jane B. Moore Field on April 12 at 6 p.m. CST.
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