Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Hogs blow out Vols to take series
Arkansas first baseman Trevor Ezell bunts during a game against Tennessee on Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Arkansas scored eight runs against Tennessee starter Garrett Stallings and never looked back in a 15-3 victory over the Volunteers on Saturday.
The No. 7 Razorbacks have won the best-of-three-game series over the No. 18 Vols. Arkansas will go for the series sweep Sunday at 4 p.m.
Arkansas (33-11, 14-6 SEC) maintained a 1 1/2-game lead atop the SEC West standings with its sixth consecutive conference win.
The Razorbacks torched Tennessee's pitching staff for 18 hits Saturday, including four home runs and six doubles. Heston Kjerstad hit two home runs and Jordan McFarland and Casey Martin each added one home run.
Kjerstad and Martin each had 5 RBI.
McFarland and Martin each hit home runs during the Razorbacks' four-run third inning, and Arkansas scored four more in the third to send Stallings to the dugout after his shortest start of the season.
Arkansas freshman left hander Patrick Wicklander allowed 2 runs on 4 hits in 5 2/3 innings to earn his third win in three SEC starts. Wicklander lost a no-hit bid when Tennessee second baseman Jake Rucker bunted for a single in the fifth inning.
The Vols (31-13, 9-11) finished with seven hits.
Arkansas 15, Tennessee 3 - Final
The Razorbacks recorded one of their most thorough victories of the season, which is made more impressive because of the pitcher they beat up early in the game.
Arkansas won the series and will go for the sweep tomorrow at 4 p.m. The Razorbacks improved to 33-11 overall and 14-6 in the SEC, and assures themselves of the SEC West lead exiting the weekend.
Tennessee fell to 31-13 overall, 9-11 in SEC play.
We'll have more later at WholeHogSports.com.
Arkansas 15, Tennessee 3 - End 8th Inning
Zack Plunkett doubled and scored on Christian Franklin's RBI single in the eighth inning. The Razorbacks have 26 runs and 34 hits through two games against the nation's No. 1 pitching staff.
Arkansas 14, Tennessee 3 - Middle 8th Inning
Zach Daniels hit a leadoff home run in the eighth inning off Kole Ramage. Ramage stranded two base runners, including one who reached after striking out on a wild pitch that should have been the final pitch of the inning.
Arkansas 14, Tennessee 2 - End 7th Inning
The scanned attendance tonight is 9,842 and it is about as loud as I can remember a regular-season game.
Arkansas 14, Tennessee 2 - Bottom 7th Inning
Arkansas loaded the bases with three straight one-out walks, scored twice on Casey Martin's two-run single and scored three more on Heston Kjerstad's big blast to right field. That is Kjerstad's second home run of the night and 12th of the season. The Razorbacks have four homers tonight.
Arkansas 9, Tennessee 2 - Middle 7th Inning
Casey Opitz threw out another runner in the seventh, this time at third base, and Kole Ramage stranded a runner at first base to end the inning. The Razorbacks are cruising at the stretch.
Arkansas 9, Tennessee 2 - Bottom 6th Inning
Heston Kjerstad just hit the Razorbacks' third home run of the game, a leadoff shot on the first pitch of the sixth inning, just like Jordan McFarland's first-pitch homer in the third inning. The hit came against Tennessee reliever Will Neely.
That was Kjerstad's 11th home run this season. Arkansas has five home runs in this series.
Arkansas 8, Tennessee 2 - Middle 6th Inning
Ricky Martinez was picked off at first base on a throw down from catcher Casey Opitz. The play was reviewed and upheld.
Arkansas 8, Tennessee 2 - Top 6th Inning
Patrick Wicklander began to falter with three hits and a walk in the sixth inning. He is giving way to Jacob Kostyshock with two outs in the top of the inning.
Partial line on Wicklander: 5 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts. He is in line for his fourth win.
Arkansas 8, Tennessee 0 - End 5th Inning
Arkansas stranded two in scoring position when Casey Martin grounded out to end the fifth inning.
Jordan McFarland reached when he was hit by a pitch and Christian Franklin followed with a single. They have both reached in all three of their plate appearances tonight. Franklin is 3-for-3.
Arkansas 8, Tennessee 0 - Middle 5th Inning
Tennessee busted up Patrick Wicklander's no-hitter on a bunt single by Jake Rucker in the fifth inning. The fans booed the official scorekeeper for the decision, thinking - I guess - that Jacob Nesbit had made an error charging the ball at third base. It looked like a hit to me.
Wicklander retired the other batters in the inning and stranded Rucker at first base.
Arkansas 8, Tennessee 0 - Bottom 4th Inning
Dominic Fletcher's RBI single against Tennessee reliever Will Neely scored Heston Kjerstad from second base. That closes the book on Tennessee starter Garrett Stallings, whose final line is: 3 2/3 innings, 8 runs, 10 hits, 3 strikeouts.
That is the shortest outing of the season for Stallings and twice as many runs as he has allowed in another start. The hits were the second most of the season.
Arkansas 7, Tennessee 0 - Bottom 4th Inning
Make it seven extra-base hits and seven runs for the Razorbacks, who have chased Tennessee's ace after 3 2/3 innings.
Heston Kjerstad's RBI double scored Trevor Ezell from second base with two outs. Garrett Stallings leaves in line for his third loss.
Arkansas 6, Tennessee 0 - Bottom 4th Inning
Jordan McFarland and Christian Franklin have done a great job setting the table for the top of the order tonight. They are 4-for-4 tonight and have scored two runs apiece.
McFarland doubled, Franklin singled and both scored on an RBI double by Trevor Ezell with one out in the fourth inning. Ezell's double looked just like Dominic Fletcher's double in the last inning, starting toward center, then riding the wind to left-center.
Arkansas has six extra-base hits tonight against the SEC's No. 4 pitcher in ERA.
Arkansas 4, Tennessee 0 - Middle 4th Inning
Through four innings, Patrick Wicklander hasn't allowed a hit. He retired the Vols in order in the fourth. He has five strikeouts and his pitch count is at 60.
Arkansas 4, Tennessee 0 - End 3rd Inning
Dominic Fletcher doubled with one out and advanced to third on a groundout, but he was stranded when Jacob Nesbit hit a dribbler back to the pitcher to end the inning.
The Razorbacks had four extra-base hits in the inning.
Arkansas 4, Tennessee 0 - Bottom 3rd Inning
After Trevor Ezell's bunt single, Casey Martin hit a three-run homer to almost the same spot as Jordan McFarland. The wind is deceptively blowing pretty well out to left field.
Arkansas 1, Tennessee 0 - Bottom 3rd Inning
Jordan McFarland took Tennessee's Garrett Stallings deep on the first pitch of Arkansas' side of the third. It landed several rows deep into the Hog Pen in left field. That is McFarland's second home run this season. He is in the lineup tonight because of the shoulder injury sustained by Matt Goodheart last night.
Christian Franklin followed with a double to right field and the Razorbacks have something brewing with the top of the order coming back to the plate and no outs.
Arkansas 0, Tennessee 0 - Middle 3rd Inning
Patrick Wicklander allowed his first base runner with two outs in the third when Jay Charleston drew a five-pitch walk. Charleston, the nine-hole hitter who batted leadoff last night, advanced to second on a errant throw by Wicklander on a pickoff attempt to first base, but Wicklander struck out Pete Derkay to end the inning.
Wicklander hasn't allowed a hit through three innings. He has four strikeouts.
Arkansas 0, Tennessee 0 - End 2nd Inning
The game is going quickly along and both pitchers are throwing well. Both teams went down in order in the second inning. Arkansas' Patrick Wicklander has retired all six he has faced.
Arkansas 0, Tennessee 0 - End 1st Inning
The Razorbacks couldn't do anything with Trevor Ezell's leadoff single. He was out on a groundout by Casey Martin, but Tennessee second baseman Jake Rucker erred badly on his throw to first base trying to turn a double play, and Martin wound up at second. Heston Kjerstad struck out and Dominic Fletcher grounded out to end the inning.
Tennessee pitcher Garrett Stallings really ate up the final two batters with sliders that ran down and in against the left-handed hitters. Neither Kjerstad nor Fletcher could lay off that pitch.
Arkansas 0, Tennessee 0 - Middle 1st Inning
Patrick Wicklander retired all three Tennessee batters in the top of the inning and needed only 10 pitches. Heston Kjerstad made a great diving play in right field for the second out, which robbed Andre Lipcius of a base hit.
Tennessee has made a wholesale change to its lineup, at least from an order standpoint. No players are hitting in the same spot they batted in last night.
After a wild 11-9 win last night, Arkansas will send lefty Patrick Wicklander (3-1, 4.28 ERA) to the mound to face Tennessee ace, right hander Garrett Stallings (7-2, 1.82).
Matt Goodheart, who hurt his shoulder last night diving back into first, is being held out tonight for precautionary reasons.
Heston Kjerstad has moved up to the No. 3 spot in the batting order while Jordan McFarland has taken his place at DH.
It is a gorgeous night, clear and in the 70s. There is a big crowd in the ballpark.
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