Senior lefty Randall Fant pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning, senior Matt Vinson had three hits and sophomore Brian Anderson continued his weekend and career onslaught against Tennessee on Sunday with two hits and two RBIs as No. 14 Arkansas rolled to a 10-2 Senior Day victory before 5,839 fans at Baum Stadium.
"We knew we had to come out and win Saturday," Vinson said. "We got our butts kicked Friday night. We did what we needed to do on Saturday (an 11-1 win) and had a chance to win the series today. We got off to a good start and just kind of built from that. Randy pitched good all day. It was a good series."
Jordan Farris also had a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double off Tennessee starter and loser Aaron Quillen (2-4) in a five-run first inning for the Razorbacks (34-17, 17-9), who had 14 hits and have now won seven of their first nine SEC series for the first time since 1999.
… (But) Saturday (11-1 win) was outstanding and today was jus a carbon copy," Van Horn added. "We got to do everything we needed to do as far as getting seniors in the ballgame and letting them get on the field at least one more time. Hopefully we might have a shot to come back here and play again (in the NCAA Regional)."
Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano, the former coach at Cal-State Fullerton, was complimentary of Arkansas' program.
"They showed the signs of a team that has been to Omaha (for the College World Series)," Serrano said. "That's commonplace for a program that has been so successful so many years in a row. I've been to programs that were like that, like when I was at Cal State Fullerton, you expect to win.
" … I think our guys were surprised we played so well on a Friday night and won and they may have been afraid we woke those guys up and sure enough we did and we acted like that the last couple of games," Serrano added.
Fant (5-1) was brilliant on Mother's Day at Baum while not allowing a hit until the sixth inning and a just a pair in his 6 1/3 innings of work while fanning five, walking three and hitting a pair of Vols.
"After the first inning he was outstanding," Van Horn said. "Got into a little bit of a jam and got out of it in the third and he just went on auto pilot there for awhile throwing that fast ball in and a pretty good little slider to lefties and obviously throwing the change up."
Fant threw 87 pitches – 60 of which were strikes – before exiting to a standing ovation.
"That's exactly what I wanted," Fant said. "I wanted a good outing. Last home game in front of great fans and my family. I'm just so glad that I was able to do that."
Pitching with a 5-0 lead certainly didn't hurt.
"That made is so much easier doing my job," Fant said. "The hitters really showed up today. They carried it over from yesterday. As a whole team, we all played great today."
It was a great day for a young man whose freshman season was highlight by off the field trouble more than on the field heroics.
"He's done a great job of slowly, but surely maturing mentally and physically," Van Horn said. "Like a lot of kids, things may not go right right off the bat and that's what happened with Randall his freshman year, but he overcame it and got stronger. He had a lot of support and he's really popular amongst his teammates. Guys really like him. He's a very likeable person. I think if you walked and in and asked anyone on our team, they'd tell you they really enjoy being around Randy.
"Really seeing him come a long way this year, not only physically, but mentally, it's like a different person," Van Horn added. "It's been fun to watch his development on the field and off of it. I'm really proud of him."
Fant agree that he had just stuck with it and matured from day one until Sunday.
"I did have a rough first year, but I just kept trying to get better and mature as a person, but it has just been great, been a blast," Fant said. "Four years went by so quick. It's just been great."
He was followed to the mound by Jalen Beeks, seniors Tyler Wright and Trent Daniel and junior closer Colby Suggs as the Razorback staff limited Tennessee to six hits on Sunday.
Suggs gave up his first run since May 9th – a span that covered 12 scoreless innings.
"It was good to see those guys pitch," Van Horn said. "Wright came in and faced one lefty and got him out. I don't think a lefty has got a hit off of him all year...It was great to get all those guys in the game. It's the first time in awhile we have been able to play them all and feel comfortable, not breaking the spirit of the game and giving the other team a chance to get caught up as we are trying to get guys in. Those guys are all good players and they deserved to play and it just worked out today."
Anderson, who was 4-for-4 with three RBIs in the Razorbacks' win on Saturday, was 2-of-5 on Sunday and is now 13-for-25 with 10 runs scored, nine RBIs and seven extra base hits (three homers, two doubles, two triples) in his six-game career against the Volunteers.
"I've just really been seeing the ball well," Anderson said. "I don't know quite what it is about Tennessee. It seems I've got their number. … Really, it was a whole team effort. Guys were always getting on in front of me so they couldn't pitch around me. Dom's (Dominique Ficociello) swinging it well behind me. I think all that just kind of added up to benefit me. "
Jake Wise and Bret McAfee also had two hits for the home team while redshirt junior Jacob Morris - who has graduated - drove home a run with a sacrifice fly.
Arkansas, who closes its regular season next week at Auburn (31-20, 11-16), has already clinched a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament May 21-26 in Hoover, Ala., and can get the third see with one win next weekend.
That would give them a opening game played in the morning instead of late at night in the 12-team event, which has four first-round elimination games and then switches into double-elimination with the remaining eight teams.
Winning the final two games over Tennessee this weekend also improved the Razorbacks' chances of hosting an NCAA Regional.
"I feel great about winning seven out of nine and the other two were tight and we had a shot at winning those," Van Horn said. "As far as hosting a regional, I mean, it's out of my hand. Maybe we can play our way into it, we'll see."
Arkansas and Auburn will begin their three-game set on Thursday and then the Razorbacks will go on to the SEC Tournament.
"We're going to be out of town for a while," Van Horn said. "We leave on Wednesday and play Auburn.They seem to be pretty hot. I believe they almost had a sweep. They blew a three-run lead with two outs last night at Florida. We've been there. And they came back today and won a big game.
"That showed a lot about their team and the toughness of their team," Van Horn added. "We're going to their ballpark and it will be a battle. They probably secured a spot in the tournament, so they're like us, they're just trying to move up or hold a spot and playing to win a series. We'll do the best we can and hopefully go there and swing the bats. Because, usually against Auburn,you have to score, because they can hit."