KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Max Ferguson’s walk-off three-run blast lifted No. 4 Tennessee to a dramatic 8-7 comeback win over No. 1 Arkansas on Saturday afternoon.
Under sunny east Tennessee skies, the capacity crowd at Lindsey Nelson Stadium was sent into a frenzy as Ferguson crushed his ninth home run of the season and second of the day over the wall in right field.
For a second consecutive game against the Razorbacks, the Vols hit the ground running with a leadoff double from Liam Spence, an RBI single by Jake Rucker and a sac fly by Evan Russell that put UT ahead 2-0 in the first inning.
UT starter Will Heflin was fantastic in six innings of work, recording six strikeouts while carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning against one of the most dangerous lineups in college baseball.
The Hogs broke up Heflin’s no-hitter in the sixth, scoring three runs after a two-run homer by Braydon Webb and a solo home run by Christian Franklin to tie the game.
Arkansas took the lead with two more runs in the seventh and tacked on runs in the eighth and ninth, as well.
Ferguson’s first home run of the day came in the bottom of the seventh, a no-doubter over the video board to cut the Razorback lead to 5-4.
With a full count and two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Jordan Beck launched a ball over the right field wall to cut the Arkansas lead back to one once again.
Tennessee trailed 7-5 entering the bottom of the ninth inning after the Razorbacks added another run in the top of the inning, but Pavolony singled to start the rally before Spence worked a seven-pitch walk to bring Ferguson to the plate. The junior from Atlantic Beach, Florida needed just one pitch to give the Vols their sixth walk-off win this season.
Redmond Walsh pitched the final two innings to earn the win and improve to 4-1 on the year. The redshirt senior had a pair of strikeouts on the day.
The Vols and Hogs will square off in the rubber game tomorrow at 1 p.m. Fans can watch the game on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app.
WALKING IT OFF: Ferguson’s homer in the bottom of the ninth marked Tennessee’s sixth walk-off win of the season. After not hitting a walk-off homer since 2010, the Vols have hit three this season.
VITELLO’S THIRD VICTORY OVER TOP-RANKED OPPONENT: Saturday’s 8-7 victory over No. 1 Arkansas is the third win for Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello over a top-ranked team since his arrival in Knoxville in 2018. Vitello has also led the Big Orange to victories over No. 1 Florida in 2018 and top-ranked Texas Tech in 2020.