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Another comeback by Hogs takes series with Tigers

Photo by Arkansas Communications

The Hogs needed a hero. Christian Franklin answered the call.

The outfielder’s walk-off RBI single to left field in the bottom of the 10th inning finished off Arkansas’ come-from-behind 6-5 win against Auburn on Saturday afternoon at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The Hogs overcame a late deficit for the second day in a row, scoring six unanswered runs en route to a thrilling comeback victory.

Arkansas improves to 22-4 overall on the year with Saturday’s win. The Razorbacks, now 7-2 in conference play, are tied for first in the SEC West division.

Auburn came out swinging and opened a 2-0 lead before recording an out in the ballgame. The Tigers tagged Razorback starter Lael Lockhart for a two-run homer in the first.

Lockhart settled down after the early damage, completing 5.2 innings before running into trouble. The lefty exited with two runners on base, who would come around to score shortly after he departed the game.

Auburn greeted reliver Caden Monke with a three-run homer on the first pitch he threw.

Ahead by five headed into the bottom half of the sixth, the Tigers appeared to be firmly in the driver’s seat. A five-run deficit would surely be too much for Arkansas to overcome this time.

It was not.

The Hogs broke through for two runs in the sixth on RBI singles by Matt Goodheart and Cayden Wallace, cutting the Tigers’ lead to three. Arkansas added two more runs in the eighth, loading the bases on two occasions and scoring on a double play as well as a walk.

The comeback drama continued into the bottom of the ninth. Goodheart’s one-out base on balls set the table for Wallace’s third hit of the afternoon, which put runners on the corners with one out.

Brady Slavens delivered the game-tying sacrifice fly to right, scoring Goodheart from third and sending the game to extra innings.

Arkansas’ bullpen, meanwhile, was lights-out throughout the entirety of the five-run rally. Ryan Costeiu and Kevin Kopps handled the seventh, eighth and ninth, combining for two strikeouts and one hit allowed in three frames.

Jaxon Wiggins took over in the top of the tenth, working around a leadoff walk and tossing a scoreless inning.

The pen’s dominance gave way to the Hog offense in the bottom half of the tenth. Zack Gregory’s one-out double down the right-field line, followed by an intentional walk to Robert Moore, brought Franklin to the plate.

The preseason All-American wasted no time providing the much-needed heroics, hammering a 1-0 pitch to left field. Gregory raced home from second, scoring the game-winning and series-clinching run.

Arkansas returns to action early next week at Baum-Walker Stadium, hosting Little Rock in a two-game series that gets underway Tuesday, April 6. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network+.

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