The senior shortstop from Fayetteville is hitting .444 through 13 games. He's also near the top of the team with a .500 on base percentage. He's stolen seven bases in 11 attempts.
Carver has been a tough out with only one strikeout in 36 official at bats. That's a stark contrast from last season when he went down on strikes 19 times in 177 at bats while hitting just .232 with a .305 on base percentage.
Carver was solid over the weekend as Arkansas sandwiched victories over Texas Tech and Texas around a loss to Houston in the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park. He had four hits in 10 trips.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said Carver has made some changes in stance and approach that has paid big dividends.
"He's changed his hand position, moved them up a little higher," Van Horn said Monday before the Swatter's Club luncheon at the Clarion Inn.
"There are a few other little things that may have helped him. He switched from a 33-inch to a 34-inch bat and he's choked up. That's given him better leverage and a flatter swing."
That flat swing -- influenced by the higher hand position -- has produced more ground balls and line drives.
"Last year, he hit too many fly balls," Van Horn said. "If he doesn't hit it square, I'd rather it be on the ground."
"I told him it would help him to get his hands away from his chest and get that top hand above his shoulder," Butler said. "But he didn't do it.
"Finally, I went to Bo Bigham. Those guys are pretty close. I said, 'Go tell Carver to get his hands up high.' As soon as he did, Tim made the change. And it really worked. It's a different angle and made a difference."
Butler thinks it's more than the swing change that has Carver on fire.
"I think it's just a matter of him being more experienced," Butler said. "He's a senior. He's been through it all. That helps a lot."
Carver had never hit leadoff until Van Horn reworked the batting order earlier last week. He had been a fixture at the bottom of the order the last couple of seasons. But there isn't a lot of difference between the No. 9 spot and the No. 1 position after the first time through the lineup.
"Really, you do the same things," Carver said. "With Bo hitting ahead of me (in the No. 9 spot), I will probably take a few pitches to let him (run). That's about it."
Swatter's Club Notes
Van Horn said saving DJ Baxendale until Sunday in the Houston Classic to pitch against Sunday meant working to get the rotation aligned before the Alabama series in two weekends. Ideally, Baxendale would be the Friday night starter in SEC play. But Van Horn doesn't want to change his work by two days in one weekend. So he'll likely start on Saturday this weekend against Binghamton.
The Hogs have no midweek games before Binghamton arrives for a three-game set Friday. The team is scheduled to have Monday and Tuesday off to rest after playing 13 games in 16 days.
Van Horn is still toying with adding Barrett Astin to the SEC starting rotation. He pitched three times in relief last weekend, including as closer in Sunday's victory over Texas. He was very good on Wednesday, not as good Friday night. But he was lights out with top velocity and command against Texas.
Van Horn likes Astin's demeanor as a closer. He said Astin likes to close, but would give that up to be a starter in the SEC weekend rotation.
Another option as a starter is Nolan Sanburn. He was a starter this summer in the Northwoods League. He has the ability to stretch out as a starter. He's been used as a closer and in late relief at Arkansas. He pitched two innings in middle relief against Texas.
The Hogs appear to have a potent batting lineup against righthanded pitching, but still are trying to figure out which way to go against lefty pitchers. One option is to platoon. If lefty hitter Sam Bates can take his batting practice to games, that might answer one spot in the lineup.
"Bates can hit hit lefthanded pitching," Van Horn said. "He did in the fall. And he's been great in batting practice. He's been a little frustrated so far this spring. He got off to a great start and he's had some good swings (against lefty pitching)."
It appears Van Horn has settled on Jimmy Bosco as an everyday player. The lefty hitter has shown the ability to hit lefty and righty pitching.