May 3, 2010

Courtesy of Auburn Athletics

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Grant Dayton struck out 10 in what was a brilliant outing by the junior southpaw and the Auburn bats erupted for 13 runs on 16 hits to claim a 13-2 win over No. 7 Arkansas at Baum Stadium on Sunday and move to within two games of first place in the SEC West with three conference weekends remaining, two of which Auburn will play at home. Auburn's record stands at 30-15 overall and 12-9 SEC while Arkansas remains in first in the SEC West with a 35-10, 14-7 SEC mark.

"Today was a very important game for a lot of reasons. We talk about `Championship Sunday' and in my opinion it starts with the guy you got on the mound," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "Grant Dayton was outstanding today. Between him and Sean Ray we only walked two guys all day. We kept them off balance. This is a big win for us in this environment."

Auburn's series win over Arkansas was its second straight in Fayetteville and marked just the fourth time all season that Arkansas has lost back-to-back games and the first time both were at Baum Stadium.

Trent Mummey and Brian Fletcher each had three-hit days for Auburn while Kevin Patterson and Casey McElroy each had two hits and four RBI.

While the Auburn offense was handling Arkansas pitching, Dayton (5-2) was cruising through the first four innings, recording a season-high eight strike outs in the first four innings alone. In the first and third innings he allowed two-out doubles but stranded both runners on second. In the second he sat Arkansas down in order and then in the fourth he worked around a leadoff single and a two-out walk, getting out of the inning when Mummey made a diving snag of a Travis Sample liner into the gap in shallow right-center.

Dayton went seven full, allowing two runs on six hits, issuing just one walk, while Sean Ray threw the final two innings, allowing two hits and a walk.

"We heard a lot about how good they are and how good their bats are so I knew I just had to keep my plan simple," Dayton said. "I threw a lot of fastballs and I thought my off-speed was good today too, which was huge for me to be able to throw my off-speed for strikes and really keep them off balance."

Mummey's ninth home run of the season bounced off of the padding atop the outfield wall in right and into the Auburn bullpen to put Auburn up 1-0 in the fourth. The home run was Mummey's second of the weekend and the 28th of his career as well as the sixth of the weekend for Auburn.

"In my first at bat Eibner threw me a fastball away and I stayed on it really well and I hit a line drive to the left fielder, and that was probably one of my better swings of the year," Mummey said. "I brought the positive out of the negative from that first at bat and brought it to my second at bat and I was able to do some damage."

Auburn wasn't done scoring in the inning as singles by Fletcher and Dan Gamache sandwiched a Hunter Morris walk to load the bases. McElroy then drove in the first two of his four with a single to center to put Auburn up, 3-0.

After McElroy's hit, Arkansas pulled starter Brett Eibner (3-4) from the mound in favor of Jordan Pratt after Eibner had allowed three runs on four hits and a walk with two strike outs.

Ryan Jenkins' RBI double to the wall in left-center scored Kevin Patterson following a walk and a sac bunt to put Auburn up, 4-0 in the sixth.

Solo home runs by Zack Cox and Andy Wilkins in the sixth broke up Dayton's shutout and pulled Arkansas to within two, only to see Auburn unload for four runs in the top of the seventh to go up six, 8-2. A leadoff walk by Mummey spelled the end of the day for Pratt, who would work 2 2/3 innings and allow two runs. Mike Bolsinger came in for Pratt and allowed singles to Fletcher, Wes Gilmer, Kevin Patterson and Casey McElroy, with all but McElroy coming home to score.

Auburn wasn't done scoring as it put four more on the board in the eighth as it started the inning with three consecutive singles to knock Bolsinger from the game. Justin Fradejas started it with his first hit of the day, extending his hitting streak to 26 games, tied with Scott Pratt for the second longest all-time at Auburn behind Casey Dunn's 31 games and currently the fourth-longest in the country. A Fletcher single scored Fradejas and then Patterson blasted his 12th home run, a three-run shot and just his second this season with men on base, to put Auburn up 12-2.

Jenkins' second home run of the weekend, this one to lead off the ninth, capped the scoring.

Auburn returns to the diamond on Friday night at 6:30pm CT when it plays host to Mississippi State at Plainsman Park. The team will not play a midweek game as it is finals week at Auburn.