It happened again. It freaking happened again. Arkansas lost another one-run ballgame, and wouldn't you know it, it was another 2-1 game.
Tonight's game marked the seventh 2-1 loss for Arkansas on the season and the 10th time Arkansas has lost a one-run game. And once again, Trey Killian was on the mound for Arkansas, and received little run support in a dynamite effort.
Killian was phenomenal on the mound like he has been for most of the season, but he took another hard-luck loss, falling to 2-7 on the season. He went eight innings, gave up four hits, two runs (both unearned), walked one and struck out eight. And will take home the loss.
Arkansas' offense was lacking to say the least. The 1-3 hitters in the order combined to go 0-for-10 in the game, and Blake Baxendale was pulled in the fifth inning for a pinch runner. The reasoning behind the decision is unknown, but it is odd to take arguably the hottest bat in the lineup out of the order so early in the ballgame.
After Baxendale was lifted for pinch runner Garrett Rucker in the fifth, Arkansas got its only run of the ballgame on a Jake Wise ground ball to the shortstop and took a 1-0 lead. And at the rate Killian was going on the mound, a one-run lead seemed like it would be enough for him to work with.
But that lead wouldn't hold up for long. Auburn would answer the Arkansas run in the fifth with two of its own in the top half of the sixth thanks to two errors from shortstop Michael Bernal.
Arkansas would then waste leadoff baserunners in each of its final three at-bats, and fall in an all too familiar fashion. Arkansas stranded six runners on the night, three coming in the 9th when pinch hitter Clark Eagan flew out to centerfield on the first pitch he saw to end the game.
Auburn starter Dillon Ortman deserves a lot of credit for holding down the Arkansas bats, who came in on somewhat of a tear lately. He went 8 1/3 innings, gave up six hits, and one earned run while striking out six. He improves to 8-2 on the season.
It was déjà vu all over again at Baum tonight with the one-run loss, lights out performance from Killian, and no run support. The loss also drops Arkansas back to under .500 in SEC play.
Arkansas and Auburn will return to the diamond Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m.