Derek Tharpe returned to the mound for the first time since suffering an elbow strain April 23.
May 28, 2004
Hoover, Ala. - Tennessee's run through the Southeastern Conference Tournament came to an end with a 4-1 loss to the No. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks before a crowd of 7,052 at the Hoover-Met stadium.
The Volunteers (37-22) went 1-2 in the tournament, tying for fifth with Georgia. Arkansas improved to 39-20 and will play South Carolina in Saturday's semifinal game. Vanderbilt plays Florida in the other semifinal match up.
In his first start back from suffering an elbow strain against LSU on April 23, left-hander Derek Tharpe (6-1) was greeted by Jake Dugger's leadoff triple off the right field wall. He scored on a ground out by Casey Rowlett one batter later. Tharpe, who threw 32 pitches, retired five in a row before yielding a single and walk. He was relieved by Patrick Hicklen (5-2) who would go on to strike out four of the first five batters he faced as he pitched 6 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs (two earned) with eight strikeouts, two walks and five hits.
Arkansas starter Daryl Maday sent down the first seven Vols he faced until Kelly Edmundson and Eli Iorg coaxed a pair of walks in a scoreless third. He was relieved in the fifth by Trey Holloway after pitching four shutout innings with two strikeouts and two hits allowed.
Holloway (2-1) picked up the win in five innings of relief. He held the Volunteers to one run on four hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
The Razorbacks plated an unearned run in the fifth on a throwing error by shortstop Brian Cleveland for a 2-0 lead. With two out, Rowlett hit a routine ground ball to Cleveland whose throw sailed into the stands allowing Devin Day to score after he singled and stole second. It was just his third error in the last 38 games.
Blake Parker's RBI double in the sixth gave Arkansas a 3-0 lead as Haas Pratt scored after drawing his second straight free pass.
The Vols finally broke through with a run in the sixth. After loading the bases with one out and coming up empty in the fourth, Tennessee regrouped by parlaying a double by Alex Suarez, a Razorback error and a sacrifice fly into a run to cut the gap to 3-1. Suarez doubled to center with one out and took third as the center fielder and right fielder collided on the play. Brett Chappell then lifted a fly ball to left scoring Suarez with the first Tennessee run.
Arkansas got the run back in the seventh as Day led off with a triple to center and scored on Rowlett's one-out single through the right side past a drawn in infield.