Stopping the blood coming from the mouth of Will Maddox was relatively easy.
Tennessee was going to need more than gauze to slow down the damage on the scoreboard.
The Vols again left little doubt about their toughness or effort, with their second baseman providing the most obvious example after a ball deflected off a glove and into his face as he ran the bases on Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
But that approach still wasn't remotely enough to keep pace with the talent of No. 18 Arkansas, which inflicted plenty of figurative pain to go with the cut lip it gave Maddox in a 10-3 win to clinch the last series of the regular season.
"Obviously it broke the skin open," Vols coach Dave Serrano. "When a guy gets hit in the face, you worry about the eyes, you worry about the teeth. But it was just a cut on the lip, and the fight doctor got him fixed up and all that and kept him in the game.
"There was no way Will was coming out of this game. He's a tough kid, and he's going to finish the job for us."
It took a few minutes for him to get medical clearance after he hustled down to first and indirectly into the path of an errant throw.
Despite admitting to feeling a bit sore after the game with the bleeding in his swollen lower lip mostly under control, Maddox didn't let it bother him as he promptly took off for second on a hit-and-run with Zach Osborne at the plate, skipping over his ground ball before making an aggressive turn to third.
He followed that up by scoring the first run of the game for the Vols (24-30, 8-21 SEC), adding a single and a walk to provide a threat from the top of the order against the Razorbacks (38-17, 15-14).
"I'm all right, and it'll be good," Maddox said. "It's just a little swollen, hurts a little bit, but it's fine. It would have been nice for it to be exciting in some way — take it off the face and throw somebody out or something.
"They had to try to stop the bleeding because they said it was going to bleed it a lot. I just told them I was
staying in the game. That's the way I'm going to play every game. I'm not going to take a day off, I'm going to try to play harder than everybody else that day. That's how I go about every day."
That style has drawn plenty of praise throughout the season from Serrano, and the results obviously haven't hurt his opinion of the infielder either.
Even though Maddox was able to get on base the hard way and ultimately score, the error actually caused his average to dip heading into the final game of the season this afternoon. At .298 for the year, he has a shot to be the only regular to crack .300 — and no amount of swelling in his lip is going to keep him out of the lineup.
"I didn't even ask him, because he probably would have been wrestling me down the first-base line if I said, 'You're coming out of the game,'" Serrano said. "If it was something that I felt could have affected him down the line, I would have taken him out of the game. It was just a little cut, we got the bleeding stopped to some point and he was ready to go.
"He's a good little freshman to have around, and he's going to be a better player as he continues on in his career here."