FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 15 University of Arkansas baseball team takes its five-game winning streak to Berkeley, Calif., this weekend for a three-game series against the California Bears. First pitch of Friday’s opener is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. (CT) at Evans Diamond. This weekend’s matchup will represent the Razorbacks’ first road trip of the 2010 season.
In its last outing, Arkansas (6-1) scored in all but one inning en route to a 15-3 victory over Kansas. Jarrod McKinney and Monk Kreder hit their first home runs as Razorbacks in the win and each hitter in the Arkansas lineup reached base. The 15 runs scored against the Jayhawks are a season high for the Hogs. Cal (6-1) swept through the CS Bakersfield Tournament last weekend with wins over Central Michigan, St. Mary’s and host-team CS Bakersfield.
"(California) has tremendous pitchers," head coach Dave Van Horn said. "They are putting up runs, too, and playing real well. (This weekend) will be two teams going at it that are 6-1. They didn’t have a midweek game so they are getting ready for us. We’re going to have our hands full. This is going to be a tough weekend for us."
Arkansas and Cal have met four previous times with each team tallying two wins. The Razorbacks took two of three in a weekend series played last season at Baum Stadium. The teams split the first two games before Arkansas came away with a 13-3 run in the finale a year ago.
Andy Wilkins leads the Razorbacks’ offensive charge with a .435 batting average, the eighth-best mark in the Southeastern Conference. The junior infielder is sixth in the conference with three home runs and fourth among SEC players with 13 RBI, to go along with 10 runs scored and a .957 slugging percentage. In his last four games, Wilkins has 11 RBI.
With a team batting average of .308 through seven games, the Razorbacks have seven players-Wilkins, Collin Kuhn (.381), Tim Carver (.364), Zack Cox (.357), Kreder (.333), McKinney (.321) and Brett Eibner (.313)-hitting better than .300. At the top of Arkansas’ lineup, McKinney leads the team, and is fifth in the SEC, with 11 runs scored. The Hogs have taken advantage of 61 free passes (43 walks and 18 HBP) this season.
The Razorback rotation against Cal is expected to feature Mike Bolsinger, Drew Smyly and Eibner. Bolsinger, Friday’s probable starter, is 1-0 this season with a 2.00 ERA in nine innings of work. Smyly has struck out 13 hitters with just one walk in eight innings this season, and Eibner is 2-0 in a pair of starts. Arkansas’ team ERA of 3.29 is sixth in the SEC and its 10.43 strikeouts per contest stands second in the league.
Arkansas faces a hot-hitting team in the Bears. As a team, Cal posts a .404 batting average with 27 doubles, and has outscored its opponents, 73-14, through the first seven games of the year. Chadd Krist tops the club with a .577 batting average and three home runs. Danny Oh has driving in a team-high 11 runs. The Cal pitchers have been as impressive, posting a 1.60 ERA and holding opponents to a .229 batting average. In 62 innings of work, the Bears have totaled 68 strikeouts and 17 walks, while giving up just one home run.
Fans can listen to this weekend’s action on the Razorback Sports Network from ISP. Chuck Barrett will be in the booth as the network’s play-by-play announcer. There will also be an audio stream available at the online home of Razorback athletics, ArkansasRazorbacks.com.