Arkansas Clinches Series Against Vols

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Good pitching, good defense and timely hitting -- three ingredients which usually lead to success on the baseball diamond.

They were also the exact ingredients which led No. 7 Arkansas to a 4-3 win against Tennessee on Saturday in front of a crowd of 2,621 in Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

First, there was the pitching, as Duke Welker worked 6 2/3 strong innings in his ninth start of the year before giving way to Jess Todd.

Then, there was the defense, including a couple of highlight reel plays at third base by Logan Forsythe.

And finally, the timely hitting, which consisted of a pair of two-out RBI singles and perhaps the at-bat of the game when Brian Walker led off the top of the ninth with a double to set up the game-winning run.

"We complemented every thing we just went over, the defense, the starting pitching and then the timely hitting," Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn said. "And now we're 2-0 (in the series)."

With that 2-0 series start, Arkansas (21-8, 6-2 in the SEC) has now won its first three-game set in Knoxville since 2000. The Diamond Hogs have also clinched a win in their third-straight SEC weekend series.

Not that they're satisfied just yet.

"You always try to win every series," said Walker, who finished 2-for-4. "And winning the first three series is big, but now we want to go 3-0 (against Tennessee). So (today) is the biggest game of the year for us."

Behind Welker -- who held the Vols (17-11, 4-4) to no runs and three hits through the first six innings -- Arkansas built a 3-0 lead thanks to RBI singles by Jacob Julius and Walker and a solo home run off the bat of Jeff Nutt. Tennessee rallied, though, scoring three of its own in the seventh to tie things up.

The final Vols run scored on a wild pitch. Or passed ball, depending on who you asked. But Walker -- after letting the ball get past him -- quickly responded with the leadoff double in the ninth.

Two batters later, following a close sacrifice bunt play at third and a flyout to left field, pinch runner Stephen Robison was able to cross home plate for the winning run.

"The key play of the game was that sacrifice play," Tennessee coach Rod Delmonico said. "It was a close play at third, but he was safe. And then you've got to give (Arkansas) credit. They had two great pitchers in there and that last one (Todd) shut us down."


Arkansas at Tennessee

WHEN: 1 p.m.

WHERE: Lindsey Nelson Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.

RECORDS: Arkansas 21-8, 6-2; Tennessee 17-11, 4-4

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