FAYETTEVILLE - Sexiness is irrelevant when you’re winless.

FAYETTEVILLE - Sexiness is irrelevant when you’re winless.

Arkansas needed a victory in the worst way Friday night, no matter the optics. A sweep at the hands of South Carolina last weekend to open Southeastern Conference play was disheartening. This weekend’s opponent, Auburn, is expected to finish in the bottom of the league.

So, yes, a win was needed.

Rick Nomura failed twice to get down a bunt in the bottom of the ninth inning. Forced to swing with two strikes, he knocked a no-out double past first base. That brought up Luke Bonfield, who pegged a single to nearly the same spot and Jake Arledge scored from third. The Razorbacks players blitzed from the dugout, 3-2 winners.

They wouldn’t have been in that position if not for some luck. And Josh Alberius.

The right-handed Arkansas reliever’s work allowed Arkansas to have its comeback. He struck out five straight Auburn hitters - two in the eighth and all three in the ninth - to provide the Razorbacks momentum going into the bottom of the final inning.

Jake Arledge started it with a single deep the hole at shortstop. Nomura and Carson Shaddy each had two hits for Arkansas. Arledge had two runs.

Arkansas (16-6, 1-3) starter Dominic Taccolini was unable to get himself out of his self-created mess in the third inning. Consecutive singles by Justin Ebert and Niko Buentello set the stage for a Blake Logan RBI double for the game’s first run. Arkansas pitching coach Dave Jorn went to the mound to visit with Taccolini, who at that point was up to 62 pitches (33 strikes) with no outs in the inning.

Three more pitches and it was Van Horn’s turn to come from the dugout. Taccolini had given up a fourth straight a hit, a single to Daniel Robert, and his night was finished. James Teague entered with runners at first and third, nobody out and he walked the first batter he faced. But he also induced a soft liner and a double-play on the next two hitters and Arkansas left the three Auburn runners abandoned.

That was ultimately the theme. Auburn (11-11, 1-3) demolished Arkansas pitching or the Hogs arms self-destructed. But when the Tigers needed the clutch hit, none came. Taccolini’s two given up in the third was all Auburn would get at all. Through five innings Auburn had reached base 17 times and left 12 on the base paths.

Arkansas was left room to mount a comeback, accordingly.

Carson Shaddy drew the first walk off Auburn pitching, which allowed the most in the SEC, in the sixth inning. Cullen Gassaway followed with a double that hit the base of the wall in left-centerfield to score his third baseman. Rick Nomura was next. He hit the ball the same direction as Gassaway, though not as deep. His RBI-single scored Jake Arledge, who had entered as a pinch-runner for Gassaway.

Auburn would ultimately leave 14 runners on base. Tigers hitters reached 20 times (nine hits, nine walks, two beaned batters) and only the two crossed the plate. Arkansas didn’t get Auburn down in order, nor did Auburn fail to leave someone on-base, until the eighth inning when Alberius started his strikeout streak.

Game two of the series is Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Follow Eric on Twitter: @ericwbolin

College Baseball

Southeastern Conference

Arkansas 3, Auburn 2

Auburn 002 000 000 - 2 9 2

Arkansas 000 002 001 - 3 9 0

Camp, Klobosits (6) and Logan. Taccolini, Teague (3), Rodriguez (5), Alberius (7) and Pennell. W - Alberius (2-0). L - Klobotsis (1-2).