Record Day For Arkansas First Baseman
Sort of ... On Wednesday afternoon, Hamblin hit his 56th career home run to tie former Razorbacks slugger Ryan Lundquist for the school record. It came in the third inning of a 6-0 win against Alabama in the first game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Regions Park. His 21st homer of the season -- it was a two-out, three-run blast to left-center field -- also left him only three behind Lundquist for the single-season record. It also gave the Razorbacks an early 5-0 cushion, more than enough to advance to the winner's bracket today. "In the first at-bat they were coming after me with a steady dose of fastballs in-and-out and tried to show sliders," Hamblin said. "Then, the next at-bat, they came at me with sliders. I felt like they were trying to pitch around me. "I just kind of sat on the slider and got one that got hung up in the zone and I just put a good swing on it." Hamblin, who's hitting .280 with those 21 homers and 57 RBIs, basically powered the Razorbacks to their latest win. "He's had a great career," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "He's been real steady offensively for four years and defensively, he's just continued to get better. "This year, the power's been coming on. "Honestly, if he'd had a little more luck with where we were playing (in Baum Stadium), or which way the way the wind was blowing, he'd probably have five, six, seven more. "He's just gotten it done for us." And Van Horn said many of Hamblin's homers have come at the most opportune times. "The home runs he's hit, a lot of them have been big ones when we needed them," Van Horn said. "To give us a lead or put a team away. It's tough to hit home runs. It's a skill that takes timing, strength, bat speed and discipline. "To hit that many home runs in a career ... his name will be in our records books forever." Hamblin said he was fully aware he was nearing the record but tucked it in the back of his mind. "Yeah, I knew about it but I didn't think much of it," he said. "I just wanted to get it behind me and get it over with. "It's an honor to be put in the record books with a lot of great players. You come into a career at Arkansas and really don't think about stuff like that until it happens. "You just work hard. It's not something I really planned on doing. It just happened that way. "It feels real good." Hamblin said what felt the best was winning the first game of the tournament because Arkansas had so many doubters. "When you come in here and lot of people are down on you and don't think you deserve the (No.) 2 seed because you haven't had good games in the past, it feels good to go out there and win," Hamblin said. "It was good to go out there and prove them wrong. "We did that today."
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