Auburn on wrong side of SEC Tournament history



Arkansas sophomore first baseman Chad Spanberger got three legs of a home run cycle to knock Auburn out of the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament Thursday. Starter Dominic Taccolini pitched the first two innings but was lifted after his fourth walk, Matt Cronin (3-0) earned the win with three innings of work and Josh Alberius was ideal the final two innings.

Mississippi State's bats came to life over the last two innings, scoring three of its four runs to earn a 4-3 victory over Arkansas.

Right handers Kevin Kopps, Cannon Chadwick and Josh Alberius and left-hander Evan Lee combined to allow three hits, a hit batter, a walk and two runs before lefty Kacey Murphy came on to force a 4-2-3 double play grounder and a strikeout to get out of the inning.

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Arkansas advances to play the loser of Friday morning's Florida-Mississippi State game in another elimination game.

The first two home runs were damaging to the Tigers' chances of keeping their tournament hopes alive after a loss to top-seed Florida, but neither should have been insurmountable.

The Razorbacks were playing their second game of the day.

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Mississippi State's Jacob Billingsley (1-3) took the loss against Arkansas, giving up three runs in five innings.

The first postseason no-hitter for Arkansas was also the school's first since Nick Schmidt, Brian McLelland and Devin Collis combined for a 3-0 victory over Oklahoma State on February 11, 2006.

The junior finished 3-for-4 with seven RBIs including a grand slam. It will be the first matchup between the two SEC rivals this season. He ended up with the victory, his third of the year.

"(Auburn reliever Andrew Mitchell) had busted me with curveballs in the past and so I went up there the third time expecting a breaking ball", Spanberger said. A lead they never relinquished.

The Razorbacks broke the game open with six runs in the sixth inning, pushing ahead 7-1.

Two batters after Arledge's single, Spanberger took a 0-1 offering from left-hander Andrew Mitchell and hammered it off the back wall in right-center field.

That was more than enough offense for Arkansas' pitching staff, which struggled with command throughout the game but still managed not to give up a single base hit.

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