Arkansas takes game one in Knoxville
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Jacob House had four RBI and Dallas Keuchel pitched six solid innings to lead the No. 7 Arkansas Razorback baseball team to a 9-3 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Friday night.
Arkansas (28-11, 12-6 SEC) wins its second straight Southeastern Conference game while Tennessee (19-24, 5-14 SEC) was hurt by walks early and often.
The Razorbacks wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as they plated three runs in the top of the first inning. Taking advantage of Tennessee’s Ty’Relle Harris’ wildness, Arkansas opened the game with three consecutive walks as Harris’ first nine pitches were called balls. With one out, Jacob House smoked a double down the right-field line to score all three base runners and make it a 3-0 game.
Arkansas’ second inning began with a bang as Zack Cox hit the first pitch he saw over the left-center field wall for his fifth home run of the season. A single and walk later and Tennessee would dip into their bullpen to get out of the jam. The Razorbacks were back in the scoring mood again in the third as the Hogs loaded the bases for the second straight inning. This time it was Chase Leavitt who delivered a two-out single through the right side to score Arkansas’ fifth run of the game.
The Hogs would push the score to 8-1 in the fifth inning with another three-run inning. This time it was Ryan Cisterna who delivered a big hit as he singled to left field with two runners on to score one run, but a second run scored on the play as interference was called at third base. A sacrifice fly by Leavitt scored Arkansas’ third run of the inning and eighth of the game.
Tennessee would score one run on Arkansas starter Dallas Keuchel in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by the heart of the order and tallied another in the sixth on two hits. Keuchel would limit the damage in each inning thanks to good pitching and solid defense. The first rally was squashed when Zack Cox fielded a chopper on a short hop with one out and a runner on third and fired a strike to home plate to gun down the would-be scorer. A double play would end the second rally.
Keuchel finished the night after six innings, scattering six hits and allowing two earned runs for his sixth win in 10 starts. Arkansas’ ace has now allowed three earned runs or less in eight of his 10 starts this season and in six of his seven starts in SEC play. Justin Wells came in to pick up his third save of the season by tossing three innings and allowing one run.
As efficient as the Razorback offense seemed, it was not without its flaws. Arkansas left the bases loaded in three innings and stranded 12 base runners for the game. Four Razorbacks walked away with two hits each including House, Scott Lyons, Cox and Collin Kuhn. Hits by Leavitt, Brett Eibner and Cisterna completed the Arkansas hit parade. House led the Hogs with the second four RBI game of his career while Leavitt contributed a pair.
The Razorbacks and Volunteers continue their series on Saturday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium beginning at 3 p.m. central. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.