Hamblin's Grand Slam Goes For Naught

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas first baseman Danny Hamblin sat in the dugout staring straight into a cold, dark Saturday night.

A few feet way, teammate Jake Dugger sat motionless with his head bent and his eyes glued to the floor.

There was dead silence.

Really, there wasn't much to say after No. 25 Georgia beat No. 11 Arkansas 8-7 in another heartbreaker in front of 6,593 fans in Baum Stadium to win a crucial Southeastern Conference series.

Hamblin's postgame emotions were a far cry from the ones he showed in the fifth inning when he crushed a one-out grand slam over the left-center field wall.

That blast gave Arkansas custody of a 6-3 lead and the momentum it so dearly needed.

After hitting his dramatic homer, Hamblin started pumping his right arm into the air, and eventually high-fiving Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn as he rounded third.

He finished off his home run trot by chest-bumping center fielder Craig Gentry at home plate.

"Oh, that was awesome," said Razorbacks second baseman Logan Forsythe. "You know, I'm standing on third right when he (Hamblin) connects with it. Coach is saying ‘Tag.' I'm just wanting to walk home.

"That was a big boost to our confidence and we wanted to start rolling from there."

However, that was the last hurrah for Arkansas.

Hamblin, who leads the SEC in RBIs (36) and is second in the league in home runs (7), found little consolation in those statistics.

"We didn't win, you know," he said. "That's what matter."

And really, it didn't matter to Hamblin, either, that he stayed on pace to break the school record for RBIs in a season (82) set by Jeff King in 1985.

If the arithmetic is correct, Hamblin could have 84 RBIs in 10 fewer games — King set his record in 66 games, including the NCAA Tournament — if Arkansas doesn't make it to the postseason.

Arkansas (19-5) finds itself sitting at 1-4 in the SEC and desperately trying to keep the bottom from falling out.

"Yesterday (Friday) we didn't swing the bats that well and one thing led to another," Forsythe said. "We came out swinging a little better today. We had a lot of opportunities again today but we didn't get the job done again.

"That's frustrating."

It looked as if that frustration would be completely wiped out with one swing of the bat from Hamblin.

The night before in a 2-0 loss against Georgia, Hamblin blasted one deep into the outfield before it was caught at the warning track.

"I mean, that's Danny's job to drive runs in," said Razorbacks shortstop Matt Willard. "He got a good pitch and he drove the ball. I knew it was gone when he hit it.

"I knew he would come through."

Hamblin said he only wanted to drive in one run, something that for Arkansas fans in this series, has been as hard to do as finding a parking place because of a home builders show — or whatever it's called — going on in the nearby Randal Tyson Center.

"You know, you just try to get the job done," Hamblin said. "I was trying to drive the ball to the outfield, maybe out of the park.

"Earlier in the game, I had a chance to drive a guy in and I didn't. The second time, I did get the job done. That's what it boils down to."

Arkansas tries to avoid a swept when it meets Georgia again at 12:35 p.m. today.

"We've got to take care of them tomorrow (today)," Willard said. "We can't get swept at home. It's tough to take a positive out of this but we've just got another chance to get the job done.

"We've got to win."




Hawgs Daily Top Stories