Arkansas and Tennessee battle in top-five matchup

Sports

By: Oliver Grigg (Arkansas Razorback Athletics)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ar (Arkansas Razorback Athletics) – The Razorbacks are on Rocky Top.

No. 1 Arkansas embarks on its final road trip of the 2021 regular season, jetting east to Knoxville, Tenn., for a three-game conference set at SEC East leader No. 4 Tennessee. Action in the highly anticipated matchup between top-five opponents gets underway at 5:30 p.m. CT Friday, May 14, on SEC Network+.

The Hogs, 37-9 overall on the season, are in sole possession of first place in the SEC West with a 17-7 mark in conference play, leading second-place Mississippi State by one game. Arkansas, the undisputed top-ranked team in all of college baseball, have won a program-record eight consecutive SEC series entering this weekend in Knoxville.

Arkansas, ranked first in the nation in RPI, are 8-1 against top-10 foes this season and own a 6-1 mark against teams ranked in the top five.

Schedule
Friday, May 14 – 5:30 p.m. CT – at Tennessee – SEC Network+ – Listen – Live Stats
Saturday, May 15 – 11 a.m. CT – at Tennessee – SEC Network – Listen – Live Stats
Sunday, May 16 – Noon CT – at Tennessee – SEC Network+ – Listen – Live Stats

Matchups & History
Friday
Arkansas LHP Patrick Wicklander (4-1, 1.69 ERA) vs. Tennessee RHP Chad Dallas (8-1, 3.86 ERA)

Saturday
Arkansas RHP Peyton Pallette (1-2, 4.01 ERA) vs. Tennessee LHP Will Heflin (2-2, 4.17 ERA)

Sunday
Arkansas TBA vs. Tennessee RHP Blade Tidwell (6-2, 3.71 ERA)

The Razorbacks and Volunteers will clash for the 64th, 65th and 66th time this weekend. Arkansas is 36-27 in all-time meetings against Tennessee, riding a four-game win streak in the series entering Friday night’s tilt.

Arkansas won all three games against Tennessee when the two teams last met during the 2019 campaign, sweeping the Volunteers at Baum-Walker Stadium for the second time in program history.

Tune In
Saturday’s contest between top-ranked Arkansas and No. 4 Tennessee will broadcast nationally on the SEC Network with Clay Matvick (play-by-play) and Chris Burke (analyst) on the call. Friday’s series opener and Sunday’s finale, meanwhile, will both air on SEC Network+ with Bob Kesling and Rusty Ensor handling play-by-play and analyst duties, respectively.

Fans can catch all the action through the ESPN app on smartphones, computers and tablets or via Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

All three games this weekend can also be heard on the Razorback Sports Network from Learfield/IMG, including locally in Fayetteville on 92.1 FM. Phil Elson will have the call from Knoxville.

Radio Affiliates
Conway – KASR-FM 92.7
El Dorado – KELD-AM 107.1 (FM Translator)
Fayetteville – KQSM-FM 92.1
Forrest City – KXJK-AM 950
Forrest City – KXJK-FM 106.5
Fort Smith – KERX-FM 95.3
Little Rock – KABZ-FM 103.7
Marshall – KBCN-FM 104.3
Mena – KTTG-FM 96.3
Rogers – KURM-AM 790
Rogers – KURM-FM 100.3
Stuttgart – KWAK-FM 105.5
Texarkana, TX – KKTK-AM 1400

Hogs Steady at No. 1
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Arkansas remained the unanimous No. 1 team in college baseball for Week 13 of the season, leading all six major polls released Monday. Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, D1Baseball, NCBWA, Perfect Game and USA Today each kept the Razorbacks atop their respective rankings for the fifth straight week.

It is the seventh time this season that Arkansas is the undisputed No. 1 team in the nation as well as the 11th consecutive week that the Hogs maintain the top spot in at least one of the six polls.

Sooieville Sluggers
Arkansas has been one of college baseball’s most homer-happy teams all season long. The Razorbacks have hit 79 homers in 46 games this year, the second most in the country. Old Dominion leads the nation with 81 round-trippers in 46 ballgames.

Five Razorbacks have blasted double-digit homers this season, including Matt Goodheart (12), Robert Moore (11), Christian Franklin (10), Brady Slavens (10) and Cayden Wallace (10). Goodheart, the team leader in home runs, was named the National Player of the Week by both Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and Perfect Game/Rawlings in April after swatting five dingers in four games against UA Pine Bluff and Texas A&M (April 14-18).

Call the Kopps
The best pitcher in college baseball for the month of April was an Arkansas Razorback.

Kevin Kopps was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Pitcher of the Month after a dominant April on the mound. He appeared in nine games for the unanimously top-ranked Hogs during the month, posting a 0.81 ERA and recording four saves in 22.1 innings while allowing only five walks and striking out 42.

The right-hander’s dominance did not come to an end when the calendar flipped to May. Kopps was named the Perfect Game/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week on May 11 after his lights-out effort against Georgia to help Arkansas secure a program-record eighth consecutive SEC series win.

He pitched the final three innings of the series opener, striking out three to earn his seventh save of the year (his sixth of the multi-inning variety) and lock down the Hogs’ 3-0 shutout win. Kopps came back in Sunday’s 5-3 finale win, firing a scoreless 4.1 innings of work with five more strikeouts to improve to 7-0 on the year and clinch the series.

On the year, Kopps has a 7-0 record with a 0.72 ERA, striking out 83 and walking only 13 in 49.2 innings. He has a team-high seven saves, allowing only 30 hits – a .172 opponent batting average against – and surrendering just four runs this season.

The Sugar Land, Texas, native is also in the running for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award, which is given to the top relief pitcher in the nation. Kopps leads the country in ERA (0.72) while topping the SEC in strikeouts per nine innings (15.04) and WHIP (0.87).

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