KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Release) – No. 18 Arkansas used a six-run sixth inning to propel itself to a 10-3 victory over Tennessee on Friday evening at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
“(Arkansas) swung the bats extremely well again,” UT head coach Dave Serrano said. “They strung together two innings where they put four, five or six guys on base. Nick (Williams) was pitching well, but the sixth inning just got away from him. It got away from him and got away from us.
“That is one of the things that when I go back to the drawing board and reevaluate everything that has gone on this year, that is one of the things that we have to become better at on the mound. Throughout the year there have been too many crooked numbers in innings where we don’t get things stopped. That isn’t just a stuff thing, that is a mentality thing. That is one of the many things we will work extremely hard to fix going into next year.”
Senior Wes Walker led the way at the plate for UT, reaching in all four of his plate appearances with three singles and a hit by pitch. It was his first career three-hit game as a Vol while the HBP was the 90th taken by a Tennessee player this season, tying the school record set in 2000.
Fellow classmate Davis Morgan was one of seven other Vols with a hit in the contest, as he was 1-for-3 with a pair of walks. His leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games.
Sophomore Nick Williams (3-5) suffered the loss on the mound, yielding eight runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings with five of the runs coming in the Arkansas half of the sixth. Freshman Robbie Kidd came out of the bullpen to strike out three in 2.2 frames before senior Josh Allman spun a perfect ninth inning for the Big Orange.
Razorback starter Ryne Stanek was knocked out of the game in the second inning after taking a line drive off his right shoulder, but Cade Lynch (3-1) came on in relief to pick up the win with four strikeouts in 3.1 innings of one-hit ball.
Arkansas put the first run on the scoreboard in the top of the second, getting a double and a single to start the stanza before scoring when the Vols got the runner at first in a rundown after picking him off with a third-to-first move.
After two scoreless frames, the Razorbacks added two more runs to their total in the fifth as Matt Vinson knocked in a run with a triple to the corner in right and scored just seconds later on a wild pitch.
Trailing 3-0, Tennessee cut its lead back down to just two by plating its first run of the weekend in the bottom of the fifth. Will Maddox opened the frame by reaching on a throwing error before moving to third on a perfectly-executed hit-and-run single to right by Zach Osborne. He then scored one pitch later on a 5-4-3 double play.
The Razorbacks had quite the response up their sleeve, however, answering with six runs on seven hits and a UT error to take a commanding 9-1 advantage. In all, they sent 10 batters to the plate with Mark Reynolds leading off and ending the inning.
Bo Bigham added another run to the Arkansas tally in the seventh when he brought a runner in from first with a double down the left-field line to push the Razorback lead to nine at 10-1.
Tennessee got two runs back in the home half of the inning, loading the bases with nobody out thanks to a leadoff single from Walker and back-to-back walks before Osborne knocked in a run with an RBI groundout.
After another walk loaded the bases once again, Arkansas reliever Brandon Moore notched a strikeout for the second out but Chris Fritts came through in the clutch for UT, punching a two-out single to left to bring in what would be the final run of the game.
Tennessee will close out the 2012 campaign against the Razorbacks at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Seniors Josh Allman, Hunter Daniel, Davis Morgan, Zach Osborne, Chris Pierce and Wes Walker will be honored in a ceremony prior to the game.
Junior righthander Zack Godley (4-2, 3.50) will get his first start in almost a month for the Vols as he returns from an oblique injury, while Arkansas will counter with southpaw Randall Fant (2-2, 3.96).