KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – It was a slug fest in Knoxville, Tenn., but the No. 7 Arkansas Razorbacks battled back from two early deficits of three and four runs to defeat the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sunday afternoon, 15-8.
Arkansas (29-12, 13-7 SEC) hit five home runs and tallied six runs in the eighth inning to put away a pesky Tennessee team (20-25, 6-15 SEC) who had all the momentum early but couldn’t hold on. The game was called after eight innings due to a travel curfew.
It was a rough start for the Razorbacks as they left two runners on base in the first inning and then fell behind by three when a fly ball down the left-field wrapped around the foul pole for a three-run home run. Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn argued the call, but to no avail.
Scott Lyons hit the first of what would be a career best two home runs in the top of the second inning to cut the lead to 3-1, but Tennessee would score another two runs in the bottom of the third on another Volunteer home run.
A four run fourth inning by the Razorbacks tied the game at five. With one out, Andy Wilkins, who would also hit two home runs in the game, stroked a pitch over the left-field wall to begin the rally. He was followed by Zack Cox who smoked a double to center field prompting Tennessee to change pitchers. Brett Eibner greeted the new arm with a home run of his own to make it 5-4. Lyons came through with a double past the third baseman to keep the rally going and was promptly followed by a Ryan Cisterna single up the middle to make it 5-5.
Tennessee would again take a lead with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, but the Hogs would regain the lead for good in the top of the sixth with another four-run inning. With two runners on base Cisterna would double to right-center to score two runs and tie the game at seven. A walk and hit batter later loaded the bases for Ben Tschepikow who laced a pitch down the left-field line to score two more runs and make it a 9-7 game.
The Volunteers made it 9-8 in the bottom of the seventh, but an Arkansas rally in the eight sent nine batters to the plate and was capped by a three-run bomb to right-center by Wilkins. A leadoff single by Chase Leavitt and walk by Kuhn preceded a single by Tschepikow to score one. Tom Hauskey then pinch hit and flared a single to center field to score another Razorback run. Wilkins then connected on his home run to put the game out of reach.
One of the key plays in the game came in the bottom of the seventh inning with a runner on first base a Tennessee batter hit a double down the left-field line, but great hustle by Kuhn allowed him to get to the ball quickly. He threw a strike to Zack Cox who relayed the ball to Cisterna at the plate to tag the Volunteer’s fastest runner out by three steps and preserve Arkansas’ then tenuous one-run lead.
The Razorbacks return home for their next contest, a midweek affair with the No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners at Baum Stadium on Tuesday evening. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.