BERKELEY, Calif. – Tim Carver hit two home runs-the first long shots of his career-and drove in four to help the No. 15 University of Arkansas baseball team to a 9-5 win over California Saturday afternoon at Evans Diamond. The victory runs the Razorbacks’ winning streak to seven games, the club’s longest since the 2006 season. Zack Cox was 3-for-4 with two RBI and Drew Smyly worked five innings with seven strikeouts to pick up his first win of the season.
While Carver collected his first home runs, Andy Wilkins hit the 32nd of his Razorback career, a solo shot in the fifth inning. With his home run, Wilkins ties Troy Eklund (1986-89) for 10th place on Arkansas’ all-time home run list.
The Razorbacks took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Matt Reynolds opened the top of the third with a hustle double, swiping the extra bag on a bouncer through the middle when the Cal infield failed to cover second base. After back-to-back walks to Collin Kuhn and Wilkins, Arkansas (8-1) had the bases loaded with one out. Monk Kreder drove in the game’s first run with a high chopper to third, allowing Reynolds to score. For the second time in as many games,Cox knocked a two-run single into center field to plate Wilkins and Kreder.
Cal (6-3) scored an unearned run in the home half of the third inning to cut its deficit to two. Smyly walked the first two hitters of the inning. On a wild pitch to the third hitter of the inning, Marcus Semien moved up and came in to score when James McCann’s throw down to third got away from Cox. Despite walking three in the inning, Smyly escaped allowing just one run to cross the plate.
Arkansas got that run back in the fourth on the long ball by Carver. With one down in the frame, Carver launched the first pitch of the at-bat over the fence in left field. The Fayetteville, Ark., native is the third Razorback this season, along with Kreder and Jarrod McKinney, to hit his first career home run.
Wilkins’ solo shot, his fifth of the season, came with one out in the top of the fifth. The long ball opened the gates for the Razorbacks’ five-run inning. The last four runs of the inning came with two outs. With runners on first and second, Brett Eibner doubled down the line in right field to score Cox and move McCann over to third. Carver continued his career performance and capped the Hogs’ scoring with a thee-run blast to left field and Arkansas extended its lead to 9-1.
The Bears made the final score closer with scores late in the game. With two runners on and one out in the sixth, Semien hit a three-run shot to left field off reliever TJ Forrest. Cal tacked on its fifth, and final, run of the game with another home run, this time by Chadd Krist, in the ninth. Jordan Pratt, the Hogs’ third pitcher of the game, responded by striking out the final two hitters to end the game.
Sunday’s series finale between the Hogs and Cal is set for a 3 p.m. (CT) start at Evans Diamond on the Berkeley campus. With the first two games of the weekend series in hand, Arkansas will go for the sweep with Eibner penciled in to start game three.