KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – In a wild SEC Sunday afternoon slugfest at Lindsey Nelson Stadium the seventh-ranked Arkansas baseball team held on for a 11-7 win over Tennessee to complete the three-game sweep in front of 1,770 fans.
The Razorback offense kept the heat on over the final four innings with five runs as the Volunteers’ bats came alive. Tennessee scored six runs on 10 hits in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings off the Hogs’ bullpen, but it would not be enough.
UA starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel worked five-strong innings for his third win of the season. He allowed just one run on five hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Brian McLelland finally stopped the bleeding in the Arkansas’ bullpen by retiring all four Vols he faced to earn his first save of the season.
The Razorbacks pounded out a SEC-high 19 hits to improve to 22-8 on the season and 7-2 in SEC play. The Volunteers fall to 17-12 and 4-5 in league play. It was the first time in school history the Razorbacks swept a series from the Vols in Knoxville.
UT starter Lance McLain took the loss to fall to 5-3 on the year. He worked just two innings and gave up five runs on four this while issuing five walks. Tennessee used six pitchers on the day with each one allowing at least one UA run and issuing eight walks.
Jake Dugger, Sean Jones, Logan Forsythe and Matt Willard all collected three hits to lead the Hogs. Casey Coon, Forsythe, Jeff Nutt and Willard all knocked in two runs each as well. Jones reached base six times in the game, going 3 for 3 with three walks.
Forsythe, who finished the day 3 for 6, has now hit in three straight games and 23 of his last 25. He connected for his fifth home run of the season to leadoff the sixth inning.
Arkansas added two very important insurance runs in the ninth to go back on top by four runs at 11-7. The first run scored when Coon grounded into a double play, but the Razorbacks continued to fight. The Hogs got three more hits in the inning, including a RBI single by Jeff Nutt.
Tennessee hit UA reliever Jess Todd in the seventh inning for three runs on five hits. Julio Borbon led off the inning with a triple when Sean Jones misplayed the liner into right field. Tony Delmonico then singled to center and J.P. Arencibia followed with his second double of the afternoon.
UT scored its third run of the inning on a RBI groundout by Yan Gomes and then Jeff Lockwood looped a single into left field to score the Vols’ fifth run of the game. Todd then struck out the final two batters to get out of the inning.
Back-to-back doubles down the left-field line with two outs in the top of the eighth inning pushed the Hogs’ lead back to four at 9-5. Ben Tschepikow got the first double and Brian Walker then lined the first pitch he saw past the third baseman down the line to score the run.
Chris Rhoads came on in relief of Todd in the eighth inning and gave up a single to Andy Simunic and a bunt single to Borbon. Logan Forsythe then made a great play at third base to start a 5-4-3 double play. Rhoads then walked Arencibia and gave up a 1-2 single to left field by Gomes.
James Gilbert then came on and gave up a 2-2 single to Lockwood to get the Volunteers within two runs at 9-7. Brian McLelland then came on to face the next batter Danny Lima and got him to fly out to right field.
The nine-hole hitter Willard delivered in the second inning with a two-run double just beyond the glove of a diving right-fielder Ryan Jones in the gap. An infield hit by Dugger and a walk to Jones loaded the bases. Coon then drew the fifth walk of the game and the fourth of the inning to plate UA’s third run.
Logan Forsythe followed with an infield hit to score the fourth run and Jeff Nutt then lined out to right field for a sacrifice fly and his 20th RBI to stake the Razorbacks to 5-0. It was the 14th inning this season where the Hogs have scored five or more runs in an inning.
UT answered with a single tally in the bottom half of the second inning on Cody Brown’s two-out RBI single to center field.
A balk scored Arkansas’ sixth run of the game in the fourth inning when UT’s third reliever of the day Aaron Everett stopped his motion in mid delivery.
Travis Hill came on in the sixth inning and quickly got into trouble, surrendering a leadoff double to J.P. Arencibia. He then hit back-to-back batters to load the bases before walking in the Vols second run of the game.
After striking out Shawn Griffin, Hill was lifted from the game for Todd. He ended the bases-loaded threat by getting Andy Simunic to fly out to right field.
Coon answered back with a two-out RBI single up the middle in the top of the seventh inning off UT reliever Danny Wiltz. It was just the second earned run allowed by Wiltz in 11 appearances this season.
Arkansas comes home to the friendly confines of Baum Stadium for a nine-game home stand that begins Tuesday, April 3 with Northern Colorado at 7 p.m.