Knoxville, Tenn. — Tennessee pitching once again stifled the Arkansas bats as the Vols earned the series victory with an 8-1 win over the Razorbacks Saturday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.Arkansas fell to 33-15 overall and 13-13 in the Southeastern Conference. The loss was the sixth straight on the road in conference play for the Razorbacks. Tennessee improved to 29-21 overall and 12-14 in the SEC with the victory.
In two games the Vols have limited the Razorbacks to one run on eight hits, with seven of those hits singles.
Jay Sawatski (3-2) took the loss for Arkansas after giving up three runs, all earned, on three hits in five and two-thirds innings of work.
Derek Tharpe (6-5) earned the victory after throwing seven innings allowing only one run, earned, on four hits. Joey Andrews recorded his third save of the season after pitching the final two innings of the game without allowing a hit.
The Razorbacks mounted their first scoring threat of the series in the top of the second inning when they loaded the bases with two outs. Haas Pratt and Clay Goodwin each singled to left and Nick Pitts walked, but Scott Hode’s pop out to short ended the inning without a run crossing the plate.
Pitching dominated the game as the Razorbacks and Vols combined for only two hits in four innings of play. After loading the bases in the second, Tharpe retired the next 10 batters and did not allow a ball out of the infield. Sawatski was equally effective allowing only one walk and not allowing a Vol to reach second base. From the third to sixth inning, the pitchers combined to retire 21 of 22 hitters.
Nick Crowe finally snapped the string with a single to left off Sawatski to open the bottom of the sixth inning. Crowe moved to second when Jordan Czarniecki was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. Sawatski then walked Josh Alley to load the bases for Javi Herrera who hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Crowe and give the Vols a 1-0 lead.
The Razorbacks made a break when catcher Judd Kindle threw to first to pickoff Alley at first base for the second out. Alex Suarez gave Tennessee a 2-0 lead with a double down the left field line that plated Czarniecki, who advanced to third on the pickoff.
Suarez’s RBI double chased Sawatski after five and two-thirds innings. Caton Hall relieved Sawatski with runner on second and two out. Walter Sevilla laced a single to left that scored Suarez and pushed the lead to 3-0. Sevilla advanced to second when Pitts booted the ball in left.
The error cost the Razorbacks as Sevilla scored on a single up the middle by Kyle Norrid. The RBI single gave the Vols a 4-0 advantage.
Andrew Wishy snapped the Arkansas scoreless streak with a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning. The home run snapped a string of 14 straight hitters retired by Tharpe and a streak of 18 scoreless innings in the series.
Tennessee increased its lead in the eighth inning. Suarez singled and advanced to third when Pratt threw wild to second on a fielder’s choice by Sevilla. The error put runners on second and third with no outs. Norrid then singled through the left side to plate Suarez for a 5-1 Tennessee lead.
Jimmy Mobbs relieved Hall following Norrid’s run scoring single. Brian Cleveland pushed the lead to 6-1 with a sacrifice fly to center to score Sevilla. Mobbs then gave up a single to LeGate and hit Crowe to load the bases. Alley singled up the middle to plate Norrid and LeGate and give the Vols an 8-1 advantage.
Arkansas and Tennessee conclude the series with a noon (CT) game Sunday. Arkansas will travel to Springfield, Mo., to take on Southwest Missouri Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.