Arkansas Media Relations

Arkansas salvages series split with Tennessee

Arkansas made a costly error and lost its opening game of the Tennessee series.

Dominic Fletcher provided an individual two-run swing in the span of an inning Saturday afternoon, helping Arkansas salvage a series split against Tennessee.

After making a diving catch in centerfield to save a run the bottom of the fourth inning, the freshman hit a two-out solo home run in the top of the fifth and the Razorbacks won 2-0 in the seven-inning second game of the doubleheader in Knoxville, Tenn.

It was his second home run of the day, as he also hit one in the morning game. Fletcher went 5 for 6 in the two games combined.

The fourth-inning web gem by Fletcher kept Jordan Rodgers from scoring from first and preserved a shutout for Trevor Stephan, who gave up just one hit and struck out 11 batters.

The junior right-hander has seemingly regained his early-season form after a rough start at Auburn and first inning against Ole Miss the last two weeks, during which he allowed five earned runs in only 2 1/3 innings. Since then, he has retired 36 of 43 batters in 12 scoreless innings.

Five Volunteers reached base during the game, but only one advanced past first base. That came in the second inning when Luc Lupcius hit a leadoff single and eventually moved up on a passed ball.

Eric Cole's two-out RBI single in the top of the seventh inning scored Carson Shaddy to give the Razorbacks an insurance run.

Arkansas improved to 35-13 overall and 14-9 in SEC play with the victory. The third game of the series was cancelled because of rain throughout the weekend. The weather suspended Thursday's game in the second inning and pushed it all the way back to Saturday morning.

The Razorbacks return to Baum Stadium for a three-game series next weekend before ending the season at Texas A&M.

Game 1: Tennessee 5, Arkansas 4 (9 innings)

In a game that stretched across three days, a ground ball through Chad Spanberger's legs was the difference.

The error by Arkansas' first baseman allowed Tennessee to regain the lead for good and the Volunteers beat the Razorbacks 5-4 in the opening game of the series, which began Thursday before rain pushed it back to Saturday morning.

It looked like the sharp grounder by Will Heflin would get reliever Jake Reindl out of a bases-loaded jam with an inning-ending double play, but Spanberger misplayed it and two runs scored.

Those runs erased a comeback by the Razorbacks, which began the day with a 1-0 lead in the middle of the second inning.

After throwing just 11 pitches Thursday, Blaine Knight came back out to pitch Saturday. He got off to a rough start, though, allowing three runs in the first half inning of the morning. Heflin tied the game with an RBI single and Jeff Moberg gave the Volunteers the lead with a two-run double.

Arkansas managed to tie the game with a two-run fifth inning. Fletcher led off with a single and scored on an RBI triple by Jake Arledge in the next at bat.

The Razorbacks nearly wasted the opportunity, but Spanberger delivered a two-strike, two-out RBI single to make it 3-3. In the next inning, Fletcher hit a two-out solo home run off the scoreboard to give Arkansas the lead.

However, much like its first lead, it was erased in the following half inning. Reindl relieved Knight to start the sixth and got the first batter to ground out, but that's when the Volunteers started their rally.

Pete Derkay hit a double that Fletcher misread in centerfield because of the weather and Matt Waldren and Max Bartlett followed with a walk and infield single, respectively, to load the bases.

Spanberger was playing in the infield grass and set up to turn a double play on Heflin, but the ball went under his glove and into right field, allowing Tennessee to score two runs. Despite neither run being earned, Reindl was credited with his first loss of the season.

The Razorbacks had just one base runner - a two-out single by Jared Gates in the eighth - over the final three innings.


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