Fayetteville, Ark. – Tennessee freshman pitcher Craig Cobb threw a complete game as he held the Razorback bats in check to help lead the 15th-ranked Vols to a 9-3 series opening win over No. 12 Arkansas Friday night.
Arkansas fell to 30-14 overall and 13-6 in Southeastern Conference play. The loss snapped Arkansas’ five game winning streak. Tennessee improved to 33-11 overall and 11-8 in the SEC.
Clint Brannon (3-2) took the loss for Arkansas. Brannon allowed seven runs, all earned, on seven hits in five innings of work. Brannon walked and struck out two on 72 pitches.
Cobb allowed only three runs, all earned, on five hits, in nine innings of work. It was Cobb’s first start in an SEC game. Cobb allowed only one hit and walked one batter after the third inning and retired 10 consecutive hitters during one stretch.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Vols over the Razorbacks. Tennessee swept a three game series last season in Knoxville.
Haas Pratt gave the Razorbacks a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with a bases loaded single to right. Pratt’s hit scored Jake Dugger (single) and Danny Hamblin (walk). Scott Bridges made it a 3-0 game with a sacrifice fly to center that plated Scott Hode (walk).
Tennessee got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning. A walk and two singles loaded the bases with only one out. Chase Headley walked on four pitches to force Kyle Norrid home.
Chris Kemp then hit into a fielder’s choice that plated Alex Suarez to make it a 3-2 game. With two outs, Brian Cleveland hit a ground ball to third that Clay Goodwin was unable to nab which allowed Eli Iorg to score and tie the game 3-3.
Nick Crowe continued the inning with a single to center that scored Kemp for a 4-3 Vols’ lead. Crowe was caught in a rundown between first and second on the play, which allowed Cleveland to score to push the UT lead to 5-3.
The Vols increased their lead to 7-3 in the fifth inning when Iorg delivered a two-out single down the right field line that scored Norrid and Suarez.
Tennessee tacked on two more runs in the ninth inning for the final 9-3 margin. The game marked the fifth time this season the Razorbacks lost a lead of two or more runs and went on to lose the game.
The teams continue their series Saturday at 6:06 p.m. from Baum Stadium. Arkansas will send Charley Boyce (5-1) to the mound, while Tennessee counters with Sean Watson (4-2).
The game will be televised by CSS regionally and by KFDF/UPN locally.