FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- After matching No. 20 Arkansas hit-for-hit through six innings, Tennessee pulled ahead to claim a 5-4 win over the Razorbacks in the series opener at Baum Stadium on Friday night.
With the win, Tennessee improves to 20-24 on the season and 8-17 in SEC competition, while Arkansas (29-19) slips to 14-11 in conference play.
At the plate, Tennessee outhit the Razorbacks with 10 base knocks in the contest. Leading the Vols' offense, second baseman Nick Senzel went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI, while designated hitter Andrew Lee (2-for-5, 2B), shortstop A.J. Simcox (1-for-4, RBI) and left fielder Christin Stewart (1-for-3, RBI) each contributed to UT's scoring.
With a double in his first at-bat against the Razorbacks, Lee also extended his current season-long hit streak to 15 games. The streak marks a career-long streak for the junior, as well as the longest streak for the Vols' squad this year.
Arkansas took an early 1-0 lead after the first inning, but Senzel quickly answered for the Vols in the third. With two outs in the inning, the sophomore crushed a ball to straight-away center field for a game-tying home run.
The Razorbacks edged ahead again in the bottom of the third, but the Vols used a base hit by Lee, a throwing error and a free pass by righthander Trey Killian to load the bases. Center fielder Chris Hall was then hit by a pitch, bringing home leadoff man Lee to even the score at 2-2 before the end of the frame.
The schools battled pitch-for-pitch until the sixth, when Arkansas right fielder Tyler Spoon drove a two-run homer over the left field wall to make it a 4-2 Arkansas advantage.
In the seventh, Senzel led off with his fourth base hit of the night and came around to score on an RBI-double from Stewart to narrow the deficit. Simcox later went to bat with runners on second and third with one out and drove a ball opposite field, plating one run to tie things up at 4-4.
Tennessee then claimed their first lead of the game, as Stewart crossed home plate on a wild pitch by new Arkansas pitcher Zach Jackson to make it a 5-4 ballgame.
In his fifth start of the season, junior Andy Cox settled in after a shaky first inning and dealt 7.0 strong innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with six strikeouts to receive the win.
Freshman Jacob Westphal went to the hill in relief of Cox in the eighth and faced three batters before righty Kyle Serrano entered the game. Serrano went on to get out of a jam in the eighth before Andrew Lee went to the mound in the ninth, closing out the game for his eighth save of the year.
On Saturday, Tennessee sophomore Hunter Martin (1-2) gets the starting nod against the Razorbacks for a 7:05 p.m. ET game at Baum Stadium. Game action is slated for SEC Network +.