HOOVER, Ala. (WATE) — After outscoring their opponents 26-2 in the last three games, the Tennessee bats cooled and Arkansas belted two home runs to defeat the Vols 7-2 on Sunday in the SEC Tournament championship game.
The Vols were able to take an early lead, but a stellar defensive play in the fourth inning and subsequent RBI-single in the fifth inning by Arkansas shortstop Jalen Battles sparked the Razorbacks to their first tournament conference title.
No. 4 Tennessee was threatening to add to its lead in the fourth but Battle, ranging to high right, made a diving stop and threw Luc Lipcius out at second base while sitting on the infield. Battles then came up to the plate with two baserunners on and no one out. He singled to right centerfield to tie the game.
The Hogs would go on to take a 3-1 lead in the inning.
Battles would add a home run in the seventh inning to make it 4-1 Arkansas. He was named tournament MVP.
Pete Derkay brought the Vols within a pair of runs with a homer of his own in the seventh, but it was not enough.
Cullen Smith, a Nashville native and East Tennessee State University transfer, put the game out of reach with a 2-run home run to right in the eighth for the Hogs.
Vols pitcher Camden Sewell, catcher Connor Pavolony, first baseman Lipcius and second baseman Max Ferguson were named to the SEC All-Tournament team.
Both teams await the release of the NCAA baseball tournament bracket. Arkansas will likely be the No. 1 overall seed entering the tournament. Tennessee is favored to be a top-eight seed. The tournament bracket will be released around noon Monday, May 31.