FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Ryan Cisterna Hit a 1-1 pitch in the bottom of the seventh over the Arkansas bullpen and into the Hogpen to lead the Arkansas Razorback baseball team to a 5-4 victory over #30 Tennessee at Baum Stadium on Friday night.
The game-winning hit for Cisterna was his second of the season and second in a Razorback win over a ranked opponent. His first was also a home run to left field against #22 Nebraska on March 19. The Arkansas victory improves the Razorbacks to 21-16 overall and 6-9 in Southeastern Conference play while Tennessee falls to 22-15 and 9-7 in league action. The Arkansas win is also its first back-to-back victories since March 8-9.
“We didn’t threaten to score a lot tonight,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “But when we had our chances, we made the most of them and put runs on the board. Dallas Keuchel and Stephen Richards were both outstanding tonight. We were able to get out of a lot of jams. The ninth inning wasn’t pretty but Richards made a nice play on a bunt. Tomorrow will probably be another barnburner.”
Keuchel started the game for the Razorbacks and was touched up for several Tennessee hits, but despite the adversity got out of each inning with minimal damage on the scoreboard. Keuchel would end his outing having pitched 6.1 innings with nine hits allowed and three runs. When Keuchel left in the top of the seventh, runners were on first and second base in a tie game. Richards would shut the door on Tennessee with a pair of strikeouts that made the Volunteer hitters look pedestrian at the plate.
Richards would set a career high for strikeouts in the eighth when he struck out the side but ran into trouble in the ninth when he gave up three singles to open the inning. With runners on first and second and the Razorbacks clinging to a one-run lead, Richards would get the next batter to bunt straight back to the mound and got the lead runner at third for the first out. A bunt single by the Vols best hitter loaded the bases but Richards mowed down the next batter with a pitch under the hands for his sixth strikeout and got the next batter to fly out to right for the win.
Arkansas’ pitching was at its best on Friday and its hitters followed suit with five runs on eight hits. Jeff Nutt opened the scoring in the second inning with a home run off the scoreboard in right center field to tie the game at one.
Arkansas took the lead in the fifth when Cisterna and Scott Lyons rattled off back-to-back two-out singles. A keen move by Van Horn brought senior Aaron Murphree to the plate as a pinch hitter and the Brock, Texas, native did not disappoint his coach or the crowd as he bombed a triple off the left field wall to give Arkansas a 3-2 lead.
Tennessee would tie the game in the top of the sixth leaving the door open for Cisterna’s blast in the bottom of the seventh. For the night Cisterna went 2-3 at the plate to extend his hitting streak to six games. During that stretch he is batting .375 with nine hits in 24 at-bats. Lyons is also in the midst of a good hitting streak, three games, and during that time is 7-11 (.636) with a run scored and two RBI. Arkansas’ other hits were collected by Murphree, Nutt, Andrew Darr and Brett Eibner.
The Razorbacks and Volunteers continue their series on Saturday afternoon at Baum Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 2:05 P.M. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit www.hogwired.com.