FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Danny Hamblin homered and freshmen Matt Willard and James Ewing both collected three hits as No. 10 Arkansas rolled to an 8-1 win over Cal State Northridge Saturday in front of a season-high crowd of 7,359 fans at Baum Stadium.
Hamblin unloaded for his second home run in as many days in the bottom of the first inning with a two-run bomb to left field. David Hum followed later in the inning with a RBI single up the middle to stake the Hogs to an early 3-0 lead.
Hamblin’s sixth home run of the season was estimated at 450 feet and cleared the rod-iron fence at the back of the Hog Pen – just short of Razorback Road – in left field. It extended his hitting streak to 14 games and his RBI streak to 11 games.
“Danny hit one (a home run) that got a little wind-aid, but he didn’t need it, it was a no-doubter,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “Then, two at bats later, I made a comment to him that if the third baseman was back to drop down the bunt. He’s a good bunter. He got a sacrifice and should have got a hit out of it. He’s a team player and really had a nice day today.
“He keeps driving in runs, and that’s what we need him to do. He’s been real consistent. He’s doing a tremendous job and that’s what we need from guys in the middle of the order.”
Charley Boyce improved to 2-0 with a season-high 6.2 innings of work on the mound. He allowed just one run while scattering nine hits. He struck out for four and did not walk a batter on 103 pitches.
James Gilbert earned the save out of the bullpen after entering with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning. He struck out CSUN’s Brett Blumenthal to end the seventh and finished with three strikeouts and no walks in 2.1 inning of work. He surrendered just one hit.
The Razorbacks’ pitching staff struck out seven Matadors on the day and did not issue a walk. Boyce lowered his ERA from 5.14 to 3.92 on the day. Gilbert’s ERA is down to 1.00 in nine innings out of the bullpen.
“The game was a lot closer than the final score,” Van Horn said. “We did a lot of the little things today that helped keep the lead for us. We hit the ball hard all day and used the whole field. Overall, we played really well today.”
Cal State Northridge starting pitcher Edwin Quirarte (2-4) suffered the loss. He allowed three runs on five hits and walked two over 1.1 innings.
Northridge plated a run in the top of the third inning on a RBI on a single by Alex Bardeguez. Arkansas center fielder Craig Gentry then gunned down a second Matadors’ run at the plate on a single by Jonathan Sakurai.
The Razorbacks added a run in the fifth inning on a RBI ground out by Brian Walker and extended the lead to 5-1 in the sixth inning with a RBI single off the bat of shortstop Matt Willard.
A three-run eighth capped the win for the Hogs. The inning was highlighted by a two-RBI single off the bat of catcher Walker and a RBI double by Ewing into the left-center field gap.
The Razorbacks pounded out 16 hits on the afternoon to up the team batting average to .318 on the season. Walker finished with a 2-for-4 day at the plate and three RBI.
Matadors’ right fielder Richard Cates led the Cal State Northridge offensive attack with a 3-for-3 day at the plate.
The series finale between the Hogs and Matadors is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. Sunday from Baum Stadium.