FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Auburn picked up its first conference win of the season, taking down No. 1 Arkansas 2-1 on the road Thursday night at Baum-Walker Stadium.
“They’ve just been competing this whole time for a couple of weeks here,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “To get to that finish line and hold that lead, never surrender it.”
“We’ve talked about a vision of some things we were going to see,” Thompson added. “It’s just neat when we had a plan and a vision and it came through. I think it all started with Cody Greenhill.”
The Tigers (12-11, 1-6 SEC) got seven strong innings from starting pitcher Cody Greenhill (3-0, 1.62), who matched a career high in innings and struck out five.
“It is big time,” Greenhill said. “The offense stepped up. The defense played out of their mind. Brody Moore made great plays, all around. It was definitely a team win.
“I’m more comfortable with myself now,” Greenhill added. “I believe the foot is a blessing in disguise for me, having to learn how to throw those pitches and depend on those pitches.”
Brody Moore provided a spark at the plate and in the field, going 2-for-5 with a home run and turning a pair of big double plays in the late stages of the game.
“I think just that confidence factor is huge for us,” Moore said. “Like you said, the games have been so close. We’re just barely missing that big hit, that one pitch, but I feel like with tonight’s win against the No. 1 team in the country our confidence can go up a little bit and put more trust in our teammates.”
Clinging to a one-run lead, lefty Carson Skipper made his first appearance in four weeks and pitched a scoreless eighth before Mason Barnett shut the door in the ninth to earn his first career save.
Back-to-back singles from Rankin Woley and Judd Ward and a sacrifice bunt from Kason Howell put a pair of runners in scoring position to start the second inning, but a foul out and strikeout sandwiched a walk to leave the bases loaded.
An inning later, Moore put the Tigers on the scoreboard with a solo home run with one out in the top of the third, marking his second home run of the season and his career.
After Greenhill set down the first nine Arkansas batters he faced and Auburn extended its lead on a sacrifice fly from Nate LaRue in the top of the fourth, the Razorbacks got on the scoreboard on a solo home run to start the home half.
However, Greenhill retired eight straight from the end of the fourth through the sixth innings and faced just two batters over the minimum in his outing.
After Arkansas put the leadoff batter aboard in the seventh, Moore fielded a one-out ground ball and went to the bag himself, making an accurate jump throw to first to end the frame.
Howell made a highlight reel diving catch in center field to keep the Razorbacks’ leadoff hitter off base to start the eighth, and Moore turned another double play himself to erase a leadoff walk in the ninth. Barnett then induced a flyout to center field to end the game.
The Tigers allowed just five baserunners and faced just three batters over the minimum in the contest.
Game two of the three-game series is set for Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT at Baum-Walker Stadium.
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