FAYETTEVILLE – Senior Chase Leavitt reached base 14 times in 17 plate appearances during the series and pounded out four hits on Sunday afternoon to lead the Arkansas baseball team to a 13-3 victory over the California Bears at Baum Stadium in front of a record-setting crowd.
The Razorbacks’ (9-2) victory secured Arkansas’ second series win over a Pac 10 opponent (Washington St.) and gave the Hogs their fourth series win of the year. The Bears (8-4) drop their second series of the year and first since the season opened. The Arkansas-California series drew 21,429 fans to Baum Stadium over the three games setting a Razorback record for a non-conference series. The 25,529 tickets sold were also a non-conference record.
“Chase had a great weekend,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “We got some big, clutch 0-2 with 2 out hits from him and increased the lead to three. [Scott] Lyons also did the same thing with an 0-2 pitch and pokes one to right field.”
Leavitt’s series was one for the record books as well as he went 9-12 at the plate with two runs, five walks, seven RBI including the game-winning hit on Sunday afternoon. He reached base safely 14 times in 17 plate appearances and was flawless in the outfield as he completed all six of the opportunities presented to him. His four hit and five RBI day on Sunday was a career high in both categories for the senior from St. George, Utah.
“[Leavitt] is a tough out,” Van Horn said. “He just had a tremendous weekend. We wouldn’t have done what we did this weekend without him, obviously. We really did it without a couple of hitters in the middle. It was the top of the order and the end of the order that took care of us this weekend. That’s what you have to do. You have to pick each other up. It will be nice, one day, when we get six guys going at one time. Today was a great day and a good weekend.”
A pitcher’s dual through the first five innings, Arkansas gave the ball to redshirt freshman Drew Smyly who allowed a pair of California runs on three hits. Smyly would leave the game with two outs in the fourth inning and Arkansas behind on the scoreboard 2-1. Cal starter Blake Smith, an All-American last season, seemed to be in control through five innings as he gave up just three runs on three hits.
The Razorbacks took the lead in the fifth when Leavitt stroked a 1-1 pitch down the left-field line for a two run double, but took command of the contest with a monstrous sixth inning.
Up 3-2 on the scoreboard, the Razorbacks loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth and Leavitt at the plate. He would shoot a ball into the left-center-field gap to score two runs and open the floodgates for the Arkansas offense. An 0-2 pitch to Lyons would get hit into right to score another two Razorback runs and a single and walk later and the Hogs once again had the bases loaded.
Arkansas’ next hitter, Brett Eibner, crushed the first pitch he saw over the wall in left field for the Razorbacks’ first grand slam of the season and make it an 11-2 contest. The grand slam allowed the Hogs to tally a season best eight runs in the sixth inning.
The Razorbacks would tack on another two runs in the eighth on an Andrew Darr home run to post their season best 13-run game and match a season best 12 hits.
Along with Leavitt, freshman Zack Cox was the only other Razorback to post a multi-hit game as the Hogs used a team effort to score their 13 runs. Cox would go 2 for 3 at the dish with two runs scored, two RBI and two walks. Following Smyly on the mound, junior Mike Bolsinger had his best outing of the season by going 4.1 innings and allowing a run on three hits, two walks and a career high eight strikeouts to pick up his first win of the season.
The Razorbacks make their first road trip of the season for their next game, a Tuesday night showdown with Centenary College in Shreveport, La. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.