Chase-ing A Berth

Razorback leadoff hitter Chase Leavitt is hitting .465 in his last 14 games and hopes to keep it going Friday night at 6:35 p.m. when No. 17 South Carolina visits for a key three-game series.

FAYETTEVILLE - When Arkansas outfielder Chase Leavitt isn't smacking baseballs around, chances are he's watching a good movie.

That's how the 6-foot, 190-pound junior from St. George, Utah, spends most of his free time.

"I like all kinds of moves. I like comedy, action, scary movies, just about any movie that's a good movie," Leavitt said. "I like them all."

Favorite movie?

"For The Love Of The Game,' Baseball movie, Kevin Costner, real good movie. Top five? Hard to say right now off the top of my head. If you give me time to think about it, I could probably come up with a couple. Top two? Oh, 'Rudy" is a good one."

Ironically, Leavitt's recent performance at the plate has been given two thumbs up and deserving of red-carpet treatment.

He has quietly produced significant numbers for the Razorbacks in the leadoff spot while reaching base safely in each of his last 14 games. Leavitt is hitting .465 over that stretch with 20 hits in 43 at-bats and has earned 13 walks.

Leavitt is leading the club in four offensive categories this season, batting average (.351), walks (32), hit by pitches (10) and on-base percentage (.506).

Leavitt hopes that trend continues when the Razorbacks open up another critical Southeastern Conference series against No. 17 South Carolina at 6:35 p.m. today in Baum Stadium.

"I think what he's done, he's really continued to get better as the season goes on," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "He's playing his best baseball, probably, the last two or three weeks. I mean, he's raised that batting average and he's doing against conference teams. He's hitting against the league and the league's tough. A lot of times you'll see guys struggle on the weekend. In his case, he's continuing to get better statistically.

"He's been real steady for us all year."

Leavitt, who spent two years on a Mormon mission in Wisconsin after his freshman year at Dixie State (Utah) College, has made the adjustment to Division I baseball with few problems.

"It's meant a lot to contribute this season," Leavitt said. "Just to play in the SEC, to see good D-1 pitching. That's meant a lot because I've been at JUCO and there's good pitching there.

"Just to see good play, it's just a step up. To learn a lot from my coaches and teammates. It's just taken me to a higher level. I came out there ready. I knew I could handle the challenge. I feel quite confident. I wasn't where I really needed to be at the first of the season but I made a couple of adjustments.

"I feel pretty good right now."


No. 17 South Carolina Gamecocks at Arkansas Razorbacks

WHEN: 6:35 p.m. WHERE: Baum Stadium, Fayetteville

SERIES: Arkansas leads, 24-18 LAST MEETING: Razorbacks won, 3-2 on May 26, 2007 at SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.

TV: none

ON THE AIR: KFAY 1030 AM; KURM 790 AM, 100.3 FM; KHGG 1580 AM, 103.1 FM; KXIO 106.9 FM

LAST TIME OUT: Arkansas beat Alabama 5-4 on Sunday in Fayetteville

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