FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ 34th home run of the season was a game changer as junior A.J. Belans delivered a grand slam in the bottom of the third to lift Arkansas to a 4-3 home win over Tennessee on Friday evening at Bogle Park.
The win was the program’s first against a ranked team since the 2014 season.
In its all-time series against Tennessee, 11 of Arkansas’ 15 wins have come on in Fayetteville.
With the win, the Razorbacks improve to 20-5 overall and 1-3 in SEC play. Grace Moll picked up the win, her eighth of the season, while Autumn Storms secured the triumph with a three-inning save.
Tennessee starter Matty Moss retired the first two hitters of the third inning before Autumn Russell lined a single into center field. After a four-pitch walk to Nicole Schroeder and an infield single off the bat of Tori Cooper, Belans stepped in with the bases loaded.
She sent the 0-1 offering from Moss over the fence in center field for the Razorbacks’ fifth grand slam of the season. It was her fourth round tripper of the year.
Belans now has a hit in nine of the last 11 games including four straight. Russell and Stephanie Canfield each had two hits against Tennessee (21-4, 2-2 SEC).
Russell now has a team-leading 10 multi-hit performances while Canfield moved into sole possession of fifth place on Arkansas’ career hits (216) list. Schroeder, the NCAA leader with 12 home runs, drew three walks in the game, tying her career high.
Moll allowed two runs on four hits in four innings of work, and was aided by a pair of double plays turned by her defense. In the top of the third, the visitors had runners on second and third with one out.
Tennessee’s Meghan Gregg lifted a ball into foul territory which Belans gloved before firing home to cut down a would-be score tagging from third. After giving up a run in the sixth inning, Storms worked a 1-2-3 seventh to preserve the win.
Game two of the weekend series is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. and will be streamed live on SEC Network+ which is also available through the WatchESPN app.
The first 200 fans in attendance will receive an Arkansas Razorbacks cell phone wallet. General admission is free for all home games.