Highlight Hit Secures Arkansas Win

FAYETTEVILLE -- Even a few hours after it happened, people still were talking about it.

It was a monster two-out, two-run home run Arkansas first baseman Danny Hamblin hit off Cal State Northridge starter Edwin Quirarte in the first inning.

It was ESPN Top 10 highlights worthy.

In retrospect, that was all the No. 10 Razorbacks needed to beat the Matadors 8-1 in front of 7,359 fans in Baum Stadium on a warm, windy Saturday afternoon.

Hamblin smashed a 1-0 offering and deposited it -- and this is the best guesstimation -- 440 feet from where he hit it into the "pig pen" and beyond in left field and almost onto adjacent Razorback Road.

Put it this way, it was a $30 cab ride from home plate.

In other words, worth $25 more than the homer Razorbacks catcher Brian Walker hit in a 9-4 win on that building in right field against Southwest Missouri State in Springfield, Mo., on April 19 of last year.

"Oh yeah," Walker said. "He crushed it."

That homer, too, represented much, much more.

It extended Hamblin's hitting streak to 14 games and it was his 12th straight game with at least one RBI and his ninth multi-RBI game this season.

Also, Hamblin stayed on pace to erase the school record for RBIs in a season (82) set by Jeff King in 1985.

"It's really not about me, it's about the guys in front me, giving me a chance to drive people in," said Hamblin, who has 6 homers and 26 RBIs in 16 games. "They've got on in front of me, especially with (Craig) Gentry back in the lineup. Guys like (James) Ewing and (Jake) Dugger.

"Every time I come to the plate, it seems like those guys are on the bases."

On Saturday, Gentry was perched on first when Hamblin launched his massive shot into orbit and some scientists are still trying to figure out where it landed.

"That's probably the farthest ball I've really hit," Hamblin said. "As soon as I hit it, I was pretty sure it was gone. It felt really, really good.

"It's the best hit I've had in a long, long time."

Hamblin, who's hitting .354, went 1-for-3 with 2 RBIs on Saturday -- he actually could have had an infield hit in the fifth inning but a controversial call argued by Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn was overruled -- but few in the audience noticed how well he continued to play at first base.

Hamblin dug out at least three low throws that even Danny DeVito couldn't have handled.

"I really feel comfortable over there now," Hamblin said. "Until last year, I'd never really played first. Last year was my first year over there after getting shots at third.

"It took a lot of work but I've got a lot to do to get better. I think I've improved a little bit."

Ewing certainly appreciates Hamblin's talent.

"He brings a lot to the table," Ewing said. "You see a guy hit a ball that far, that's amazing in itself. A couple innings later, he lays down a beautiful bunt ... it was a tough call.

"Defensively, he has a lot of range. It's so much nicer to have a big first baseman over there. If you have a throw in the dirt, you know he's going to pick it up."

That said, Ewing, like most, still couldn't resist talking about Hamblin's first-inning homer.

"I just sat there with my mouth wide open," he said. "That's one of the farthest baseballs I've ever seen hit.

"Man, it looked like that thing landed up on the street out there."


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