FAYETTEVILLE, AR (U of A) – The 20th-ranked University of Arkansas baseball team (29-19, 14-11) let a late lead slip away Friday evening, dropping a 5-4 decision in the series opener to Tennessee (20-24, 8-17) at Baum Stadium.
Andrew Benintendi stole the show again, going 3-for-4 with a single, double and his league-leading 16th home run of the season. The National Player of the Year candidate has reached base in 27 of his last 38 plate appearances and raised his batting average to .394 and his on base percentage to .493. His .753 slugging percentage ranks third in the country and he has hit .600 (18-for-30) over the last nine games.
Tyler Spoon had a night of his own, receiving his degree earlier in the day, before lining an RBI single to left field in the first inning and a two-run homer in the sixth inning for a three RBI game.
With Arkansas leading 4-2 in the seventh inning, Tennessee came to life and scored three runs in the frame to take a 5-4 lead.
The Razorbacks had chances to tie the game, leaving the potential tying run in scoring position in each of the last three innings, including Michael Bernal stranded at second to end the game as Arkansas suffered its eighth one-run loss of the year.
Trey Killian worked 6.0 innings, giving up six hits and one earned run, while striking out three for his fifth quality start of the year. James Teague suffered the loss, while Zach Jackson tossed 2.2 hitless innings and struck out four.
Arkansas and Tennessee are set to play game two of the series Saturday evening with first pitch slated for 6:05 p.m. at Baum Stadium. Dominic Taccolini will get the ball looking to even the series.