Following a surprising 2-1 loss on Thursday night versus Auburn, Arkansas looked to get back on track Friday night. For most of the game, the Hogs looked uncertain if they could ever get going, but thanks to a huge seventh inning, Arkansas came back and won 6-5.
The game started off on the wrong foot as Auburn’s Ryan Bliss would hit a lead-off home run on a fastball off of Zebulon Vermillion to begin the night.
Bliss would score the next run for the Tigers on an RBI in the third. Another run would be batted in, and following another hit in the inning, Vermillion’s night would be done early. He gave up six hits, three earned runs and had zero strikeouts on only 42 pitches. Peyton Pallette would come into the game and help end the inning.
The Hogs had three outs on five pitches in the next series, bringing the Tigers back to the plate where Auburn would homer again with Steven Williams to make it 4-0.
Christian Franklin finally delivered the first hit of the night for Arkansas in the fourth inning. However, the offense for the Hogs remained frustratingly stagnant.
That is until the Tigers’ pitcher Jack Owen was finally relieved of his duties after reaching his pitch count and Trace Bright would enter the game in the sixth inning.
This was the turning point. Leading off the seventh, Franklin would hit a double and would score the first run of the game for the Hogs after Cayden Wallace hit a single to right field. Williams tried to throw the ball but had it slip out of his hand in a moment straight out of Little League allowing Wallace to advance to second.
Casey Optiz would drive him in and that ended the night for Bright after just six batters.
At this point, the Hog calls really got going as the team appeared to feed off of it.
The offensive rally would continue with pinch hitters Zach Gregory and Cullen Smith along with Bobby Moore hitting RBIs to take the Hogs’ first lead of the game 5-4. Auburn would go through most of its bullpen just to end the inning.
After Pallette calmed the game, Jaxon Wiggins would come in and give up a run to tie the game at 5-5 which took the game to the bottom of the eighth.
Wallace and Optiz would both get on base with walks and Gregory would be hit by a pitch to load the bases. A wild pitch would score Wallace and give the Hogs a 6-5 lead.
Kevin Kopps came in for the save in the ninth and did his thing by quickly getting out the final three batters of the evening.
Wiggins picked up the win for Arkansas as the Razorbacks are now 21-4 and 6-2 in the SEC.
The rubber match is set for Saturday at 2 pm at Baum.