OMAHA, Neb. — Needing a win to keep their season alive, the Diamond Hogs delivered a performance much closer to their College World Series-opening win over No. 2 Stanford than Tuesday’s loss to Ole Miss.
Arkansas jumped on No. 14 Auburn early and often, eliminating the Tigers with an 11-1 victory.
For the second time in three games, senior center fielder Braydon Webb led off with an extra-base hit on the first pitch of the game. His double turned into the first run of the contest, courtesy of freshman first baseman Peyton Stovall’s RBI single.
Arkansas chased Auburn starter Mason Barnett from the game in the third inning, turning a walk and three hits into three runs. Graduate right fielder Chris Lanzilli made it 2-0 with an RBI single, and junior second baseman Robert Moore doubled the lead with a two-run double.
The Hogs teed off on the sidewinding John Armstrong in the fourth, making it an 8-0 ballgame with four hits, three of which went for extra bases. Webb’s single got the line moving, and Stovall moved him to third with a double, his third hit in as many at-bats. Graduate catcher Michael Turner barely missed a home run, settling for a two-run double before scoring on a mammoth shot from Lanzilli.
Turner brought home another run in the sixth, poking an RBI single through the middle of the infield, pushing the lead to nine runs. That proved to be more than enough run support for sophomore right-handed pitcher Will McEntire, who struck out a career-high nine batters in seven innings of one-run ball. The lone blemish came on a solo homer by Auburn right fielder Bobby Peirce.
Senior righty Zebulon Vermillion took care of the eighth inning on four pitches, and freshman righty Austin Ledbetter induced a 4-6-3 double play to finish the Tigers off in the ninth. The scoreless frames sandwiched two more runs for the Hogs, which came on Stovall’s fifth hit of the night.
Next up for the Hogs is a rematch with Ole Miss. To advance to the College World Series Finals, the Rebels need just one win, but Arkansas must win twice in two days. The first semifinal game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, and it will be broadcast on ESPN.