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Photo Courtesy of Auburn Athletics

No. 23 Auburn captures first SEC win, 8-6 over No. 1 Arkansas

On Saturday afternoon, No. 23 Auburn picked up its first SEC win, an 8-6 win against No. 1 Arkansas, in front of a program-record 5,087 fans in Plainsman Park. After dropping the series' first two games against the Razorbacks, senior Joseph Gonzalez was on the mound for the Tigers.

Gonzalez struggled for the second straight game, allowing four runs in 3.2 innings pitched on five hits and two HBPs. The senior now has a 7.56 ERA on the year.

“This isn't spring training anymore, and we felt like we couldn't let them score anymore,” said coach Thompson. Coach Thompson believes Gonzalez is trending in the right direction and has "another gear or two".”

The Razorbacks scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning, with a Jared Sprague-Lott home run off the scoreboard. Ben McLaughlin drew a leadoff walk, followed by a single up the middle by Nolan Souza.

Arkansas had runners on second and third when left fielder Mason Manners made a diving catch to end the inning, preventing at least two runs.

Auburn failed to capitalize in the bottom of the fourth after loading the bases with one out. The Tigers drew three straight walks from Arkansas starter, Mason Molina, before flying and popping out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, Ike Irish missed a home run by a couple of feet to dead center. Cooper McMurray drove in Irish on a line drive between the first and second baseman.

Arkansas responded immediately in the top of the sixth inning with a run of their own. Kendall Diggs roped a triple to right-center field, driving in Peyton Stovall from first.

After Mason Maners launched a leadoff solo home run in the sixth inning, Auburn fans inside Plainsman Park were ready to erupt. Cooper McMurray delivered the Auburn fans exactly what they were waiting for – an opposite-field three-run home run over the monster in left field.

“It's a pretty special feeling,” said McMurray. “You know, having those home fans behind you, they have your back, is special, and hopefully they continue to show up.”

Arkansas once again responded immediately with a run of their own in the next half-inning to cut Auburn’s two-run lead in half.

Ike Irish added an insurance run for the Tigers in the bottom of the eighth inning with a solo home run that landed three-quarters up the video board in left-center field. The blast gave the Tigers an 8-6 lead and set junior Will Cannon up for the two-inning save.

Whenever coaches give me that, I know the guys behind me trust me and everybody in the locker room,” said Cannon. “Them just having that faith in me, I just know I got to go out there and not do more, but just be me and let my stuff work."

The Tigers will be back in action at Plainsman Park on Tuesday at 6 pm against Jacksonville State. Next weekend, Auburn heads to College Station for a three-game weekend series against Texas A&M.