AUBURN, ALA. — Ryne Stanek, Jalen Beeks and Colby Suggs combined on a six-hit shutout as No. 13 Arkansas evened its series at Auburn with a 1-0 win on Friday.
Arkansas improved to 35-18 overall and 18-10 in Southeastern Conference play, while Auburn is now 32-22 overall and 12-17 in league play.
The Razorbacks’ victory clinched the third seed in next week’s SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. Arkansas will open play on Wednesday, May 22, at 9:30 a.m. against either the No. 6 or the No. 11 seed.
Stanek (8-2) was impressive on the mound en route to earning his eighth win of the season. The junior right hander worked 7 2/3 shutout innings, striking out four and allowing six hits. Stanek lowered his overall ERA to 1.54, while his ERA in conference games is 0.97. In five SEC road starts in the regular season, Stanek went 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA, allowing six runs, four earned, in 36 2/3 innings pitched.
Beeks and Suggs finished the job out of the bullpen, combining to throw 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Beeks got the last out in the Auburn half of the eighth when the Tigers had runners on first and second with two outs. Suggs slammed the door in the ninth, striking out the side as he earned his 11th save of the season.
Suggs is now tied for the third most saves a season in school history. He is one shy of tying the single-season school record of 12 held by Philip Stidham (1989) and Tim Dietz (1985).
Auburn starter Michael O’Neal (8-4) pitched well, but took the loss. O’Neal gave up one run on four hits and struck out three in seven innings.
Jake Wise went 2-for-4 to lead Arkansas at the plate. Dominic Ficociello drove in the only run of the game with a RBI single in the top of the third and went 1-for-3 at the plate. Jordan Farris and Tyler Spoon each added one hit in the win.
Blake Austin, Garrett Cooper, Hunter Kelley, Patrick Savage, Mitchell Self and Ryan Tella each had one hit for the Tigers.
Arkansas scored the only run in the top of the third. Matt Vinson walked with one out and then advanced to second after a ground out to short by Brian Anderson. A base hit to left by Spoon put runners on the corners with one out and Ficociello came through with a RBI single up the middle to score Vinson from third.
Auburn would threaten multiple times, but could never dent home plate. The Tigers had their best chance to tie the game in the eighth when they put runners on first and second with two outs. However, Beeks came in and induced a foul out to Ficociello at third base to end the threat and keep Arkansas in front.
Arkansas and Auburn wrap up the regular season on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Razorbacks will start senior Randall Fant (5-1, 2.00). The Tigers have not announced a starter for Saturday’s game.