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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Arkansas Defeats Auburn 9-3 on Saturday to Clinch Conference Opening Series


FAYETTEVILLE – No. 7 Arkansas (17-2, 2-0 SEC) clinched its fifth consecutive weekend series win against Auburn (13-5-1, 0-2 SEC) with a 9-3 triumph on Saturday afternoon at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Saturday’s win was the Razorbacks’ 12th in a row, one shy of matching their longest winning streak since 2010. Arkansas, which has now won six straight series on SEC Opening Weekend, will go for its third consecutive weekend series sweep of the season in tomorrow’s finale against Auburn.

Arkansas’ offense smothered Auburn’s pitching from the start, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first thanks to Kendall Diggs’ two-out, bases-clearing double. The Razorback designated hitter hammered the first pitch he saw into the gap in left center, scoring Tavian Josenberger, Peyton Stovall and Brady Slavens on one swing.

After the Tigers got a run back in the top of the second, Josenberger jacked a two-run homer to left in the bottom half of the inning to extend the Hogs’ lead back to three.

It was more than enough run support for Arkansas starter Will McEntire, who spun six strong innings to improve to 4-0 on the year and record his second quality start in as many outings. The right-hander allowed three runs on five hits, including two harmless solo homers, and two walks while matching his season high in strikeouts with six.

With McEntire on the mound, the Hogs tacked on four runs in the bottom of the fifth, effectively putting the Tigers away for good. A bases-loaded walk to Diggs was followed by an RBI single by Harold Coll and a pinch-hit RBI single by Hunter Grimes. John Bolton completed the four-run rally with his sacrifice fly to deep center, which brought home Diggs.

Diggs finished Saturday’s ballgame with a team-leading two hits and a team-best four RBI. For the season, he is slashing .327/.457/.727 with six home runs and 20 runs batted in, both of which rank second most among all Hog hitters.

Leading by six runs after six innings of play, Arkansas handed the ball over to emergent relief ace Dylan Carter, who locked down the final three frames. The right-hander twirled three scoreless innings with three strikeouts, earning his second save of the season while preserving the Razorbacks’ 9-3 series-clinching win.

Arkansas will have an opportunity to pick up its first sweep against Auburn since 2018 in the series finale, which is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, March 19. Brett Dolan (play-by-play) and Troy Eklund (analyst) will have the call on SEC Network+.

Note to Our Readers: The previous story was sourced directly and in its entirety from the University of Arkansas Office of Communications, Oliver Grigg.

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Jim Best
Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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