KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Arkansas broke a 2-2 deadlock with six runs over the final three innings as the Razorbacks completed a three-game sweep of Tennessee with an 8-2 victory on Saturday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
With the win, Arkansas finishes the regular season with a 39-17 overall record and a 16-14 SEC record. Tennessee finishes its season with a 24-31 overall record and an 8-22 conference mark.
Depending on the result of the Vanderbilt-Ole Miss game, Arkansas will be either the fifth or the sixth seed in next week’s SEC Tournament, which begins on Tuesday, May 22, at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. If Arkansas is the fifth seed it will play the final game of the day on Tuesday, approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game three. If Arkansas is the sixth seed, it will play the second game of the day, approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. The official bracket with seedings and first round matchups will be announced after all games are complete on Saturday.
The Razorbacks continued their hot hitting on Saturday, finishing the game with 13 hits, the team’s third double-digit hit game of the series. Brian Anderson
, Dominic Ficociello
, John Clay Reeves
and Matt Vinson
each had two hits to lead Arkansas. Anderson homered and drove in a game-high three RBI. Tim Carver
went 1-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Bleeker also had a homer in the win, belting his third homer of the series and sixth round tripper of the season. Matt Reynolds
had a single and was hit by a pitch to extend his streak of reaching base to 39 consecutive games.
Tennessee was led offensively by Davis Morgan, who had a pair of hits. Parker Wormsley accounted for both of the RBI for the Volunteers.
Arkansas reliever Colby Suggs
(6-0) earned his sixth win of the season. Suggs retired all seven batters he faced in 2.1 innings. Tennessee reliever Conner Stevens (1-2) took the loss after giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits in 1.1 innings.
Razorback starter Randall Fant
pitched well, but received a no decision. Fant threw four shutout innings, striking out three and giving up five hits.
Arkansas struck first with a run in the top of the first. Carver drew a leadoff walk to begin the game and then stole second with one out. A base hit to center field by Reynolds brought home Carver to put the Razorbacks in front.
The Razorbacks doubled the lead in the top of the fourth when Bleeker belted a solo homer over the wall in left field to stretch the lead to 2-0.
Tennessee tied the game with two runs in the home half of the sixth. Morgan singled to begin the inning and moved to second after Drew Steckenrider walked. Chris Fritts then hit a fly ball to the warning track in right-center field that was dropped by Anderson, allowing Fritts to reach and loading the bases. Chris Pierce hit a grounder back to Nolan Sanburn
on the mound and he fired home to start a 1-2-3 double play for the first two outs of the inning. Wormsley was able to make sure the inning would not be scoreless for the Volunteers as he singled to right to score both runners and tie the game.
Arkansas regained the lead with three runs in the top of the seventh. Reeves started the inning with a double down the left field line. Vinson then reached on an infield single to short with pinch runner Conor Costello
advancing to third. A base hit to right by Carver scored Costello with the go-ahead run. Vinson was then picked off second and caught in a run down for the first out of the inning with Carver advancing to second during the run down. A base hit to left by Ficociello advanced Carver to third. The UT catcher tried to throw Ficociello out at second, but his throw was low and allowed Carver to score from third on the throwing error. With two out, pinch hitter Michael Gunn
walked to put runners on first and second. A base hit to left field by Anderson brought home Ficociello to put Arkansas in front 5-2.
The Razorbacks added another run in the eighth. Jake Wise
doubled with one out and then took third on a wild pitch. After a walk to Vinson, Carver grounded into a fielder’s choice to second with Wise scoring on the play.
Arkansas closed the scoring with two runs in the ninth. Reynolds was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and was along for the ride on Anderson’s two-run homer with one out in the inning.