Baseballers surge into 2nd place

Tennessee's baseball team swept three games from Arkansas over the weekend, surging past Florida in the race for the final berth in the upcoming SEC Tournament.

The sweep -- which included two extra-inning victories -- enabled the Vols to slip ahead of the Gators into second place in the SEC East. All six teams in the SEC West are qualified for the eight-school league tournament field, so only the top two teams in the East will get bids. Tennessee now has the inside track for that eighth, and final, bid.

The Vols (30-21 overall and 13-14 in SEC play) have won five straight and six of their last seven. The scores in the Arkansas series were 1-0 (12 innings), 8-1 and 4-3 (11 innings).

Junior catcher Javi Herrera provided the difference on Friday with a walk-off home run, his team-leading ninth. The 1-0 win was the first by Tennessee since defeating Long Beach State by that same count in 1995.

Tennessee probably played its best baseball of the season vs. Arkansas. The Vols did not make an error in the entire series, posting a 1.12 ERA while allowing just one extra-base hit among the 16 allowed.

Ben Riley matched his career high with 9 1/3 innings against Arkansas on Friday, taking a no decision while not allowing a run.

Kyle Norrid led the Vols with a .417 average (5-for-12) in the series with three RBI.

Tennessee's bullpen did not allow a run in the series, a span of 12 innings. In fact, the bullpen has not given up a run in the last six games, a span of 21 2/3 innings.

The Big Orange hosts Tusculum tonight at 7. The Vols lead the all-time series with the Pioneers 16-0. Tennessee then will try to tighten its wrap up the Eastern Division runnerup spot when it visits Vanderbilt Friday (7 p.m. CT), Saturday (6 p.m. CT) and Sunday (1 p.m. CT). Saturday's game will be aired by CSS-TV.

The Vols went 11-4 at home in the SEC portion of their schedule, but are just 2-10 on the road heading into the Vanderbilt series.

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