Hogs take series after Franklin's walk off

By: Seth Campbell
Published: Saturday, April 3, 2021
Arkansas players celebrate a 6-5 victory over Auburn in 10 innings Saturday, April 3, 2021, in Fayetteville.
( Charlie Kaijo)
Arkansas players celebrate a 6-5 victory over Auburn in 10 innings Saturday, April 3, 2021, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Christian Franklin singled to score Zack Gregory in the 10th inning to cap a 6-5 comeback victory for No. 2 Arkansas over Auburn on Saturday at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The Razorbacks (22-4, 7-2 SEC) trailed 5-0 after 5 1/2 innings, but scored twice in the sixth, twice in the eighth and once in the ninth to force an extra inning. Arkansas won the series with its second consecutive comeback victory.

"I just think our guys believe that we can score runs in bunches and if we can keep it fairly close, we’ve still got a shot to win," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said.

"We’ve done it a lot this year. It’s been fun being in the dugout with these guys when they’re flighting like they’ve been fighting. We didn’t have a real good weekend, obviously. We didn’t play great, but we somehow found a way to win a couple of games."

Gregory doubled down the right field line with one out in the 10th to give the Razorbacks a runner in scoring position. After Auburn elected to intentionally walk Robert Moore, Franklin stepped up and laced a ball down the left field line to easily score Gregory from second.

Arkansas' win placed it in a tie for first in the SEC West standings with Ole Miss. The Razorbacks are scheduled to play at Ole Miss next weekend.

“You’re going to have to beat the No. 1 team in the country to beat them," Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. The Razorbacks are No. 1 in the Baseball America poll and ranked second in most other major polls.

Arkansas fell behind early after a two-run home run from Judd Ward in the first inning against starter Lael Lockhart.

Auburn (12-13, 1-8) added to its lead when Tyler Miller hit a three-run home run to right-center field on the first pitch from Arkansas reliever Caden Monke in the top of the sixth.

"We got down five runs and they were pretty excited in their dugout," Van Horn said. "I think it probably felt like they were in pretty good shape, but we did a good job of coming back in the bottom of the sixth inning after they hit the home run."

Arkansas started to battle back with two runs in the sixth inning after a Matt Goodheart single scored Moore, and another RBI single from Cayden Wallace plated Franklin.

Casey Opitz hit into a double play that scored Goodheart from third base in the eighth inning. Later in the inning Wallace scored on a bases-loaded walk by Gregory to cut Arkansas' deficit to 5-4.

Brady Slavens tied the game 5-5 in the ninth with a sacrifice fly that scored pinch runner Braydon Webb. Webb ran for Goodheart, who walked to lead off the inning, and advanced to third base on a single by Wallace.

"They kind of came at us four different times there," Thompson said. "At the end of the day it’s the 12 walks, we created the offense for them….We kept opening the door and they kept getting one or two, and drew us all the way back in.”

Kevin Kopps pitched a scoreless ninth for the Razorbacks in his third relief appearance in three days. Jaxon Wiggins worked around a leadoff walk in the top of the 10th and earned the win.

The Razorbacks are off for two days before a scheduled game with Arkansas-Little Rock on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the first game of a two-game series in Fayetteville.

EARLIER

Arkansas 6 Auburn 5 - Final

Battles starts off the inning with a ground ball to third. He's thrown out and that's the first out of the inning.

Gregory smokes a ball down the first base line for a double. Auburn elects to intentionally walk Robert Moore (which doesn't require the pitcher to throw any pitches anymore.) Franklin comes in with two runners on and one out. He had an awkward swing two at-bats ago and he hasn't hit a ball hard since.

Well he's a hit a ball hard now, down the left field line and Arkansas will win the game and series. The ball rolled all the way down to the corner and Auburn had no chance of throwing Gregory out at home.

Auburn 5 Arkansas 5 - Top 10th

Jaxson Wiggins on to pitch for Arkansas.

Kopps - 1.0 IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K, 25 pitches

Wiggins walks the leadoff batter to start the inning.

The next batter Ware flies out to right.

Brayton Brown in to hit for LaRue.

Brown hits a high fly ball to Franklin in center for the second out of the inning.

Bliss is up for Auburn, he's 1-2 with two walks today. Matt Hobbs is going to go out and talk to Wiggins. Bliss pops up to Robert Moore in short right field on a 2-0 count to end the inning.

Auburn 5 Arkansas 5 - End 9th

Christian Franklin starts the inning with a flyout to center.

Goodheart walks on four pitches and Braydon Webb is going to pinch run for him.

Wallace singles to left, Webb goes from first to third. Runners on the corners with no outs.

Brady Slavens hits a sacrifice fly to right field as Webb slides in safely and this game is tied.

Opitz walks, Wallace moves to second and Auburn is going to the bullpen. Trace Bright to pitch for Auburn.

Barnett - 1.2IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 5BB, 0K, 45 pitches

Nesbit flies out to center to send this game to extra innings.

Auburn 5 Arkansas 4 - Middle 9th

Kevin Kopps in to pitch for Arkansas.

Costeiu - 2.0IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 1K, 21 pitches

The first batter Woley singles to right. Miller drops down a sacrifice bunt to third. Woley advances to second and Nesbit throws out Miller at first.

Battles takes a two hopper to first for the second out. Woley advances to third.

Kopps gets Howell swinging to end the inning.

Auburn 5 Arkansas 4 - End 8th

Matt Goodheart starts the inning with a walk.

Wallace bloops a ball over the shortstop for a single. Runners on first and second and that will prompt a mound visit.

Now Auburn elects to go to the pen. Mason Barnett in to pitch for Auburn.

Skipper - 2.0IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 2K, 43 pitches

Slavens singles to left, bases are loaded. No way Goodheart could have scored on the single. It was hit so hard Goodheart had to make sure it wasn't caught.

Opitz hits into the seventh double play of the series. Goodheart does come around to score, but that is just brutal for Arkansas.

Nesbit works a four-pitch walk, and Jalen Battles will bat. He doesn't have a hit yet this series.

Battles works a four-pitch walk and the bases are loaded. Barnett has missed on eight straight pitches.

Zack Gregory works the count to 3-2 then takes a fastball high and away to walk in a run and move the score to 5-4.

Robert Moore gets ahead in the count 3-0, but then after two strikes he grounds out to the first baseman to end the inning. Hogs score two more, but leave the bases loaded.

Auburn 5 Arkansas 2 - Middle 8th

Costeiu gets the Tigers in order. A pop up to Moore in the grass in right field, a ground ball to Battles and a strikeout from Ward ends the inning.

Auburn 5 Arkansas 2 - End 7th

Battles starts out the inning by striking out.

Gregory is hit by a pitch and Moore reaches on an error that advances Gregory to third.

The Razorbacks were threatening, but Franklin grounds into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.

A few pitches before he grounded out, Franklin had an awkward swing that made him drop the bat and yell in pain.

Auburn 5 Arkansas 2 - Middle 7th

Ryan Costeiu to pitch for Monke. Nesbit in at third after the pinch hit at-bat from Welch.

Costeiu induces a fly ball to left, a fly ball to right and a pop up to Moore to end the inning.

Auburn 5 Arkansas 2 - End 6th

Back-to-back walks and then a single by Matt Goodheart gets the Hogs on the board. Goodheart's single was up the middle and it looked like the throw from center field would be close to getting Moore at the plate, but the pitcher Gonzalez knocked the throw down.

Gonzalez is done and the lefty Carson Skipper is in for Auburn.

Gonzalez - 5.0IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 5BB, 1K, 86 pitches

Wallace singles through the left side, Franklin comes around to score and the Hogs cut the lead to 5-2.

Slavens hits one about as far as you can without hitting it out. The left fielder catches it right at the fence just to the left of the bullpen.

Opitz flies out to right, but it's not deep enough for Goodheart to tag.

Charlie Welch is going to pinch hit for Cullen Smith.

Welch strikes out swinging to end the inning, but the Hogs get two runs back in the sixth.

Auburn 5 Arkansas 0 - Middle 6th

LaRue strikes out, that is the first strikeout of the day for Lockhart.

Bliss blasts one a long way, but it hooks foul. Instead Lockhart walks him.

Ward lays down a really good bunt down the third base line. Smith fields it and the throw isn't handled, but a runners interference is called. Bliss was on third base and he'll have to go back to first and Ward is called out. Two outs.

Bliss steals second and Opitz' throw is wide. Lockhart then bounces a ball in the dirt and Bliss advances to third.

Lockhart walks Woley and that will be it for Lockhart.

Caden Monke coming into pitch for Arkansas.

Lockhart - 5.2IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 1K, 66 pitches. Both runners are his responsibility. He can't be the winner, he will be the loser unless the Razorbacks rally.

The first pitch from Monke is blasted over the right field fence by Tyler Miller.

Monke gets the next batter to ground out, but the damage is done and the Tigers lead 5-0.

Auburn 2 Arkansas 0 - End 5th

We find ourselves in a pitcher's duel on this Saturday afternoon.

Gonzalez gets two more groundouts and a pop out to end the 5th. Arkansas making a lot of soft contact against Gonzalez today.

Auburn 2 Arkansas 0 - Middle 5th

Lockhart retires the Tigers in order again. He's really been locked in since the first inning.

Groundout and a pop up to Battles start the inning and then a flyout to center ends the inning.

Auburn 2 Arkansas 0 - End 4th

Goodheart starts the inning with a shot down the first base line, but it's knocked down by the first baseman and he steps on the bag for the first out.

Wallace walks and Slavens hits a cue shot in the hole between short and third. It can't be fielded in time so Slavens is aboard with the first hit for Arkansas.

Opitz hits one to the left of the second baseman, but he fields, throws to second and then the Tigers turn the double play to get out of the inning.

Auburn 2 Arkansas 0 - Middle 4th

Lockhart faces the minimum for the third straight inning. Getting a groundout, a pop up and a fly out to end the inning.

Auburn 2 Arkansas 0 - End 3rd

Gregory grounds out to second to start the inning.

Moore walks, but Franklin hits into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Auburn 2 Arkansas 0 - Middle 3rd

LaRue is first pitch swinging. He grounds to Robert Moore for the first out.

Bliss works a walk.

A 6-4-3 double play ends the inning. It was a tailor-made double play ball, hit right at Battles who flipped to Moore and then he threw to first to get the third out.

Auburn 2 Arkansas 0 - End 2nd

Slavens with a loud out to center, but Howell is there on the warning track to catch it for the first out.

Opitz works a walk. He's the second base runner of the game for Arkansas.

Smith pops up foul down the left field line for the second out.

Howell catches a fly ball in right-center field to end the inning. Hogs have gotten runners on, but they do not have a hit yet.

Auburn 2 Arkansas 0 - middle 2nd

Lockhart sets down Auburn in order in the 2nd. Two flyouts and a groundout ends the inning.

Auburn 2 Arkansas 0 - End 1st

Moore leads off the inning by grounding out to third.

Franklin is hit by a pitch.

Goodheart hits a soft chopper to the pitcher, Franklin advances to second, but Goodheart is out at first.

Wallace swings at a ball in the dirt to end the inning.

Auburn 2 Arkansas 0 - Middle 1st

Arkansas will play from behind for the third straight game. Bliss leads off the inning with a single through the left side and then Ward follows with a towering home run to right field.

Woley hits a two hopper to Battles who field and throws for the first out.

A groundout and a pop fly to Moore ends the inning, but Auburn strikes first with the home run.

Lineups

Auburn

SS Ryan Bliss

LF Judd Ward

3B Rankin Woley

1B Tyler Miller

2B Brody Moore

CF Kason Howell

RF Steven Williams

DH Bryson Ware

C Nate LaRue

P Joseph Gonzalez - 0-2, 5.28 ERA, 15.1 IP

Arkansas

2B Robert Moore

CF Christian Franklin

DH Matt Goodheart

RF Cayden Wallace

1B Brady Slavens

C Casey Opitz

3B Cullen Smith

SS Jalen Battles

LF Zack Gregory

P Lael Lockhart - 1-1, 2.77 ERA, 26 IP

Pregame

The teams have swapped one-run victories through the first two games of the series. Auburn won 2-1 on Thursday and Arkansas won 6-5 on Friday....The Razorbacks rallied from a four-run deficit to win Friday's game. It was Arkansas' seventh victory this season in a game it trailed by three or more runs....The Tigers are looking to win a series in Fayetteville for the first time since 2014. Auburn has lost seven of its last eight games at Baum-Walker Stadium....Arkansas right fielder Cayden Wallace extended his hitting streak to nine games Friday….

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