Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
One run, no fun
Hogs fail to support Killian (2-7)
Arkansas starter Trey Killian delivers a pitch against Auburn during first the inning Friday, April 25, 2014, at Baum Stadium.
FAYETTEVILLE - Trey Killian did not allow an earned run Friday night against Auburn, but his tough luck returned as Arkansas dropped a 2-1 decision to the Tigers before a crowd of 7,015 at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas (27-17, 9-10 SEC) missed a chance to move above .500 in SEC play, enduring its 10th one-run loss instead.
Seven of those losses have come in 2-1 games, and Killian (2-7) has been the losing pitcher in four of the 2-1 defeats.
Arkansas has scored 16 runs in Killian’s nine starts.
Auburn (24-19, 8-11 SEC) is 5-2 in series-opening SEC games, thanks to its ace right hander Dillon Ortman (8-2), who allowed 6 hits on 98 pitches through 8 1/3 innings.
Auburn Coach Sunny Golloway said Ortman’s ability to hit his spots with an 88-89 mph fastball, as well as mixing in his curve and change-up, brought to mind a style used by a man who will be inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.
“He’s kind of the Greg Maddux of the SEC,” Golloway said of Ortman.
Killian (2-7) wasn’t far behind, yielding four hits and striking out a season-high eight, but the sophomore right-hander was done in by two defensive blunders by shortstop Michael Bernal in Auburn’s two-run sixth inning.
Arkansas’ defensive meltdown came after it took a 1-0 lead in a wild bottom of the fifth inning.
Blake Baxendale led off with a single and was lifted for pinch runner Garrett Rucker, who moved to second when Eric Fisher flared a single to right. Bobby Wernes bunted the runners to second and third.
Rucker scored on Wise’s grounder to short, but Fisher was thrown out trying to advance to third on the play. Wise stole second base, and when Bernal singled to left, Wise was chugging for home but was thrown out on Jordan Ebert’s strong throw from left field.
“Two outs, base hit, it had to be a perfect throw,” Wise said. “He made a perfect throw.”
“That was a huge out,” Ortman said.
Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said sending Wise was the right play.
“The left fielder charged and made a perfect throw,” he said. “We had a chance to go up 2-0. We had a 1-0 lead and you saw what happened the next inning. We kicked a couple of balls and they scored the two runs and we never scored.”
Auburn took the lead with its two unearned runs in the sixth.
Ebert reached on Bernal’s throwing error and advanced to third on a sacrifice and a grounder. Damon Haecker looped a single into right field to drive in Ebert and tie the score at 1-1.
Damek Tomsche drew the first walk of the game to put runners on first and second. Blake Austin’s grounder to short should have ended the inning, but Bernal bobbled the grounder, then his toss to Anderson at second dribbled away, allowing Haecker to come around and score from second base.
“We got in there and that was big,” Golloway said. “The difference maker was bang bang and us throwing out a would-be tying guy.”
Arkansas had one last chance in the bottom of the ninth when Ortman walked Andrew Benintendi to lead off the ninth inning and was replaced by closer Terrance Dedrick after Joe Serrano sacrificed the runner to second.
Dedrick walked Brian Anderson to put runners on first and second, then retired pinch-hitter Michael Gunn on a first-pitch line drive in the right-field corner that allowed both runners to move up a base.
Dedrick walked Fisher intentionally, but pinch hitter Clark Eagan sent a deep fly ball to center field that was caught by Ryan Tella to end the game.
Ortman, who became acquainted with Killian while playing summer ball in the Cape Cod League, said he respects Killian.
“We’re good friends, but on the field we’re enemies,” Ortman said. “I’m glad I got the win tonight over him, but he pitched a great game also.”
Auburn at Arkansas WHEN 4:05 p.m., doubleheader WHERE Baum Stadium, Fayetteville RECORDS Auburn 24-19, 8-11 SEC; Arkansas 27-17, 9-10 RANKINGS Arkansas is No. 24 by Baseball American, No. 25 by Collegiate Baseball RADIO RSP statewide radio network. Not all games will be carried by affiliates. Check local listings.
INTERNET www.arkansasrazorbacks.com PITCHING MATCHUPS Arkansas: Jalen Beeks (LHP: 5-3, 1.49) and Chris Oliver (RHP: 5-3, 2.29); Auburn: Keegan Thompson (RHP: 5-2, 1.66 ERA) and Michael O’Neal (LHP: 2-4, 3.61)
SHORT HOPS Based on the threat of thunderstorms on Sunday, the teams agreed to play today’s doubleheader. … Auburn will be playing its fourth SEC doubleheader of the season, while Arkansas will be involved in its third. … Arkansas’ ninth inning double play, on center-fielder Tyler Spoon’s running catch on a line drive that doubled Damek Tomscha off first base, was the Razorbacks’ 42nd of the year, best in the SEC. … Arkansas’ Friday starter Trey Killian and Auburn starter Dillon Ortman both pitched in the Cape Cod League last summer.
THE WEEK AHEAD
TODAY Auburn, 4:05 p.m. (DH)
TUESDAY at Missouri State, 4:05 p.m.
FRIDAY at Ole Miss, 6:30 p.m.
THURSDAY’S GAME Mississippi St. 4, Texas A&M 0
FRIDAY’S GAMES Mississippi 12, Kentucky 4 Florida 7, Missouri 1 South Carolina 9, Alabama 3 Mississippi St. 5-3, Texas A&M 1-6 Vanderbilt 10, Georgia 0 Auburn 2, Arkansas 1 Tennessee 7, LSU 6
TODAY’S GAMES All times Central Missouri at Florida, 11:00 a.m.
Mississippi at Kentucky, noon Alabama at South Carolina, 1 p.m.
Texas A&M at Mississippi St., 2:15 p.m. Georgia at Vanderbilt, 3:00 p.m.
Auburn at Arkansas (2), 6:05 p.m.
Tennessee at LSU, 6:30 p.m.
SUNDAY’S GAMES Missouri at Florida, noon Alabama at South Carolina, noon Mississippi at Kentucky, noon Tennessee at LSU, noon Georgia at Vanderbilt, 1 p.m.
Sports, Pages 21 on 04/26/2014