Kjerstad, Hogs walk off Auburn for series sweep

Kjerstad, Hogs walk off Auburn for series sweep (KATV photo)

Even after striking out three times earlier in the game and with only one hit prior for the whole weekend, freshman Heston Kjerstad came up big on Sunday with the walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to help the No. 5 Arkansas Razorbacks defeat the No. 13 Auburn Tigers, 5-4, completing the three-game sweep.

“I was just trying to hit something hard and go through my normal routine. I just wanted to get that winning run in for my team to finish off the sweep. Honestly, the water wasn’t that cold because my adrenaline was pumping. It was fun for all of us," Kjerstad said.

Arkansas (24-9, 8-4 SEC) had already completed the four-run comeback after tying the game in the bottom of the seventh and then got two on in the bottom of the ninth as Carson Shaddy and Eric Cole both walked. As Kjerstad stepped up with two outs, the Amarillo, Texas native laced a 2-1 pitch back up the middle to easily score Shaddy from second.

It’s the third walk-off win for the Razorbacks this year and second of the week. Arkansas beat ULM in 10 innings on Tuesday winning on a walk-off error for the 10-9 victory. Sunday’s win over Auburn (23-10, 4-8 SEC) was also the Hogs’ sixth by one run this year and 11th one-run game overall.

“We had a long talk in the outfield after the game, I told them to enjoy this Sunday night off," Dave Van Horn said. "Every game is important from here on out. We didn’t talk about us winning the league right now, but there’s a lot of schedule left. We hung in there after two tough game threes on the road. For us to come back and have a 5-0 week was huge. I reminded them on Tuesday night when we came back to win in 10 against ULM, we earned that win. It really got us going to have a perfect week.”

Arkansas now sits at 8-4 in conference play, one game ahead of Ole Miss in the SEC Western Division, which suffered a series loss to in-state rival Mississippi State this weekend. The weekend sweep also marks the first time since joining the SEC that Arkansas has won its first six home conference games and first time overall since 1990.

Arkansas heads next to North Little Rock for its annual game at Dickey-Stephens Park. The Hogs will face Grambling State at 6:30 p.m.

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