FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 13 Arkansas connected for a season-high four home runs but could not keep pace with No. 21 Tennessee in front of a season-high 8,431 fans at Baum Stadium Saturday evening afternoon, falling 11-6.
The Razorbacks fall to 22-6 and 3-5 in the SEC, while the Volunteers improve to 18-9 and 2-5 in conference action.
Tennessee jumped on Razorback starter Charley Boyce early, plating two on Kelly Edmundson’s one-out double in the top of the first.
Arkansas answered quickly in the bottom half of the inning on senior Craig Gentry’s leadoff home run to left center – his second blast of the season. It was the first time the Hogs have led off the game with a home run since Jake Dugger led off the second game of the Fayetteville Super Regional against Florida State on June 12, 2004. Four batters later, Dugger launched a two-run bomb to almost the same spot as Gentry, giving the Hogs a 3-2 lead. It was the junior’s fourth homer of the season and his 15th and 16th RBIs.
James Gilbert came on in relief of Boyce in the second after the Volunteers took a 5-3 lead. Boyce (3-1) lasted only 1.1 innings, allowing five runs, all earned, on six hits and walked one.
Gentry knocked in his second run of the evening in the bottom of the second with a two-out single, but the Vols continued to light up the scoreboard in the top of the third with a two-run homer by Jarred Frazier off of Gilbert, making the score 7-4.
Julio Borbon’s single increased Tennessee’s lead to 9-4 in the top of the fifth off of Arkansas reliever Shaun Seibert, who worked 2.1 innings, giving up two runs on two hits, walked one and fanned two.
After allowing four runs in the first two innings, UT starter Craig Cobb settled into a groove, holding the Hog bats scoreless for 5.1 innings before Razorback freshman David Hum cracked the first home run of his career, a solo shot to the opposite field in the bottom of the eighth to make the score 9-5.
Blake Parker powered Arkansas’ fourth home run of the game over the left-center fence in the bottom of the ninth. It was Parker’s second homer in as many days, and his third of the season.
Cobb (5-1) tossed a complete game, giving up six runs on nine hits, walking one and striking out four.
Arkansas’ fourth pitcher of the day, Brian McLelland, tossed 4.1 innings of solid relief. The junior from DeQueen, Ark. allowed two runs – both earned – on eight hits, struck out three, walked none and hit a batter.
The 19 hits and 11 runs surrendered by the Razorback pitching staff are season-highs. The previous highs were nine runs on Feb. 24 against Louisiana Tech and 16 hits on Feb. 12 at South Alabama.
Gentry, Hum and Parker led the Hogs at the plate with two hits apiece. Gentry drove in two runs while improving his average to .370. Hum matched his career-high with his two hits.
Borbon and Tony Delmonico each slapped four hits for the Volunteers, while Michael Rivera had three hits and J.P. Arencibia and Edmundson had two hits apiece. Borbon, Delmonico, Arencibia, Edmundson and Frazier each drove in a pair of runs for the Vols.
The Razorbacks and Volunteers hook up Sunday for the rubber game of the three-game series. Arkansas sends senior Trey Holloway to the mound while Tennessee will start Josh Lindblom. Sunday’s first pitch is set for 12:35 p.m. at Baum Stadium.