Two Hamblin Homers Pace Razorbacks

AUBURN, Ala. -- Even throbbing pain in his left ankle couldn't stop Danny Hamblin.

Arkansas' slugging first baseman already had smashed one home run Friday night when he fouled a ball off his left ankle. Hamblin grimaced, hobbled around and limped for a few steps before walking back to the right-handed batter's box at Plainsman Park. Two pitches later, Hamblin crushed a towering solo home run far beyond the center-field fence. The blast gave Hamblin his fourth multi-homer game of the season and cemented No. 7 Arkansas' 12-1 victory over Auburn before 2,513 fans. "I just fouled a ball off my ankle, so I really wasn't thinking about anything," Hamblin said. "Honestly, I just swung. Things like that happen when you're not thinking at the plate." Going by Hamblin's philosophy, it looked like his teammates weren't thinking too much with bats in their hands, either. The Razorbacks (34-11, 14-5) smacked 14 hits, their highest total since April 8, and scored in six separate innings. Each starter collected at least one hit. Two of them, Hamblin and Casey Coon, had three hits. And, most importantly, the Hogs put runs on the scoreboard as soon as they could. "We kept talking about how important scoring first was," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "We came out in the first inning, and got a couple of big hits." Hamblin's first home run, a three-run shot off Auburn (27-18, 6-13) starter Evan Crawford, was the biggest. His line drive couldn't have gotten much higher than 30 feet off the ground and barely cleared the fence just to the left of center field. But before Hamblin's first-inning liner, two quality at-bats were needed just to get him to the plate. With one runner on and two outs, Jeff Nutt bounced a single into right field. Casey Coon's infield single, which hit third base, scored Ben Tschepikow. Then, on an 0-1 pitch, Hamblin came through with his 15th home run this season. "He got great extension on a low pitch," Van Horn said. "He drives it out of the park, and all of a sudden it's 4-0." The four runs immediately put Arkansas starter Nick Schmidt at ease. The left-hander went on to record eight strikeouts in his seventh career complete-game. As dominant as Schmidt pitching was, though, Hamblin's continued humbling of Southeastern Conference opponents overshadowed it. The 6-foot-1 senior is now hitting .342 (26 for 76) in 19 SEC games with 10 home runs and 23 RBI. "He's really been big on the weekends," Van Horn said. "He hasn't had the best Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and Danny will tell you that, but on the weekends, he's been showing up. He just has been relentless on the weekends."

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