Ferguson’s walk-off homer powers No. 4 Vols over No. 1 Hogs

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Athletics) – 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.

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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.

In the fourth inning, the Vols took advantage of an Arkansas fielding error and Luc Lipcius ended up scoring off a Connor Pavolony single to give Tennessee a 3-0 lead.

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.
NOTABLE
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.

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Angela joined the News 12 team in November of 2017 as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. Angela is a proud member of an Army family, which means she has hometowns all over the Eastern Seaboard. Most recently, she calls Peachtree City, Georgia, home, where she graduated from Trinity Christian School and spent her free time driving her purple golf cart. She then headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to attend Georgia College and State University. A proud Bobcat, Angela graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Mass Communication and represented her December 2016 class as one of three valedictorians. Angela comes to the Scenic City from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she worked at the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Before the big move, she worked as Georgia College's Sports Information Assistant, which let her get paid to be the Bobcats' biggest fan. It all started in Savannah, Georgia, though, where she interned for SAV's number one station, WTOC. When she's not working, you can find Angela watching the New York Giants, Rangers or basically any other game that's on. She also loves traveling, hiking and exploring new places, all with her camera in hand. If you have any story ideas, big or small, feel free to reach out to her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at amoryan@wdef.com."

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