To a certain extent, it's a miracle that the SEC baseball tournament game between Arkansas and Tennessee was ever in doubt. Razorbacks starter Trey Killian was brilliant, pitching 4.2 perfect innings to start the game and scattering four hits, no walks and one hit batter over the three innings that followed that. Meanwhile, Tennessee starter Andy Cox only allowed one hit over three innings of work -- but also hit three batters and walked three more.
And yet, after all of that, Arkansas somehow still needed an RBI double with two outs in the ninth to beat the Volunteers, 2-1, and move on to the double-elimination round of the tournament. One key reason: Tennessee left two runners on base during the course of the game; Arkansas left 16. That's how you come close to wasting a great start and end up needing a Michael Bernal double to escape.
The loss brings an end to Tennessee's season, and while the Vols took a step backward in terms of their overall record this year, it's not hard to see some signs of progress in Dave Serrano's program. When he came to Knoxville ahead of the 2012 season, Tennessee had not been to the SEC tournament since 2007. The Volunteers have now made it to Hoover two years in a row.
Meanwhile, Arkansas gets ready to take on Florida in the next round of the tournament -- preferably with a bit more urgency about actually advancing runners who reach base. Stranding more than 15 men in a game against the Gators isn't likely to end with late-game heroics, but with a trip to the losers' bracket.