#12 Arkansas drops series opener to Tennessee

FAYETTEVILLE (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) –  Ethan Bennett had three hits and drove in five runs, while Zack Godley struck out eight and allowed three runs in his fifth complete game of the series as Tennessee defeated No. 14 Arkansas, 8-3, in the series opener on Friday night at Baum Stadium.

Arkansas drops to 32-17 overall and 15-9 in Southeastern Conference play, while Tennessee is now 20-26, 7-16 in league play.

Godley (5-6) threw his fifth complete game of the season, all in SEC play, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out eight over the nine innings.

Arkansas starter Barrett Astin (4-3) took the loss. Astin gave up three runs on seven hits and tied a season-high with eight strikeouts in 5.2 innings.

Dominic Ficociello led the Razorbacks at the plate, hitting his third homer of the season and driving in two runs. Brett McAfee also drove in a run in the loss.

Bennett had five RBI and went 3-for-5 to pace the Volunteers offensively. Will Maddox also had three hits and scored twice. Vincent Jackson had two hits, including his second homer of the season, and drove in a run. A.J. Simcox scored three runs and went 1-for-3 with a RBI.

Tennessee struck first, scoring a run in the top of the fourth on a one-out RBI single to left by Bennett.

Arkansas took the lead in the bottom of the fourth as Ficociello hit a two-out homer to right field, also scoring Vinson, who had walked earlier in the inning.

The Volunteers took the lead for good with two runs in the top of the sixth as Bennett drove in his second and third runs of the night with a one-out RBI double to center field.

Tennessee stretched the lead to 4-2 in the top of the seventh on a suicide squeeze bunt by Simcox, which scored Pierce Bily from third base.

Arkansas got a run back in the home half of the seventh on a RBI fielder's choice ground out by McAfee, cutting the Vols lead to 4-3.

Tennessee would score four runs over the final two innings to provide the final margin. In the eighth, Jackson hit a one-out homer to right and in the ninth, Bennett drove in two runs with a RBI single to left and the third run of the inning came in to score on a wild pitch.

The Razorbacks were retired in order in the bottom of the ninth as Godley finished off his fifth complete game of the season.

Arkansas and Tennessee continue the three-game series on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. The Razorbacks will start junior right hander Ryne Stanek (6-2, 1.87), while the Volunteers will counter with junior righty Nick Williams (2-3, 4.94). Saturday's game will be televised on CST. Only general admission tickets remain for Saturday's game. General admission tickets are $8 and can be purchased on gameday at Baum Stadium, while supplies last.