A Rare Treat

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The plane ride home was probably filled with jokes, laughter and good times for all after what Arkansas managed to accomplish these past few days.

In a league where road wins are never easy to come by, the Razorbacks pulled off the rarest of feats by completing a three-game road sweep, outlasting Tennessee 11-7 in a typical Sunday slugfest in the Southeastern Conference.

"It's huge," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "It's really big to win the series here, then you jump out to a five-run lead in this one and you don't want to let that slip away. Because in this league anything can happen, and (Tennessee) has a good ballclub. So you feel real fortunate to win all of them."

Just how rare are SEC road sweeps? Well, considering Arkansas (22-8, 7-2 in the SEC) had only pulled off the trick five times in its 16 years in league before this weekend, very rare would be a safe answer.

In front of a crowd of 1,770 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, it at first appeared the No. 7 Razorbacks would cruise to their third-straight win of the weekend. But as most Sundays seem to go in the wild and wacky SEC, no lead is safe.

After taking an early 5-0 advantage in the top of second and building it up to 7-1 in the sixth, Arkansas was cruising at the time.

Then came the bullpens. And the slugfest to the finish. "That's what we told them today," Van Horn said. "It was probably going to get a little bit crazy. We had a five-run lead, but we knew they were going to make a run at us and we knew both teams were going to have to go to that bullpen.

"And fortunately, we kept scoring one here and one there and probably took the wind out of their sails a little bit by punching a couple more in there in the top of the ninth. Then Brain (McLelland) comes in there and closes them out by throwing strikes."

McLelland picked up his first save of the year by recording the final four outs after Travis Hill, Jess Todd, Chris Rhoads and James Gilbert all struggled out of the pen.

But no matter how Arkansas got it done against the Vols (17-12, 4-5), the most important statistic was the win at the end of the day.

And of course, that super sweet -- and very rare -- SEC road sweep.

"It's always nice to sweep and on the road, it's a nice confidence builder," said shortstop Matt Willard, who had three of Arkansas' 19 hits Sunday. "But at the same time, we've got to keep it in perspective. It's a long season and it's a marathon.

"We're just kind of in the first turn and we've just got to keep it rolling into this week and into this next weekend."

Road Sweeps

Arkansas pulled off a rare feat this weekend by getting a three-game sweep on the road in the SEC. In its history in the conference, the Razorbacks have only six sweeps on the road. Here they are:

1994 -- at Vanderbilt

1999 -- at Florida

2002 -- at Ole Miss

2003 -- at Kentucky

2004 -- at LSU

2007 -- at Tennessee


Northern Colorado at Arkansas

WHEN: 7:05 p.m., Tuesday and 7:05 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: Baum Stadium, Fayetteville

RECORDS: Northern Colorado 7-15; Arkansas 22-8

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