Tim Carver hit two home runs and Arkansas used a solid pitching outing from Drew Smyly as the Razorbacks beat California 9-5 Saturday, their seventh consecutive win.
Arkansas (8-1) scored three runs in the third, one in the fourth and five in the fifth to take a 9-1 lead and never trailed.
Carver, who had never hit a home run before Saturday, hit a solo shot in the fourth to give the Razorbacks a 4-1 lead and finished the big fifth inning with a three-run home run to plate James McCann and Brett Eibner.
"He's hit home runs in practice and batting practice as well as intrasquad in the fall," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "You know Tim's got some pop in there. He's got a lot of power and they tried to throw a couple of fastballs in there and he just turned on them.
"The fifth went from a two-run inning to a five-run inning in a swing. I think just about all the runs that inning were scored with two outs."
That was all Smyly (1-0) would need in his second start of the season. Smyly pitched six innings, allowing no earned runs and two hits while striking out six batters. The Bears scored one run under Smyly's watch thanks to a pair of errors in the third inning. Smyly did walk five batters. Arkansas pitching walked seven batters on the afternoon.
"He pitched out of jams, five innings in a row it seemed like," Van Horn said. "He was a little inconsistent, especially with the leadoff hitter. There were a couple of leadoff walks and there are some things that need to be cleaned up. Overall he came out with the win and showed a knack for getting out of jams. He's done that two weeks in a row now."
Van Horn said the inconsistency isn't unprecedented with Smyly.
"We could kind of see it coming that he would get off to a slow start and that's one reason he didn't start on opening weekend," Van Horn said. "Last year he struggled out of the gates and got better and finished strong for us. We're hoping he gets it going a little bit better next weekend and be ready for LSU the following weekend and have some great conference outings."
Junior college transfer Jordan Pratt earned his first career save by pitching the eighth and ninth innings.
Arkansas took a 3-0 lead in the third inning. Matt Reynolds started things with a double and later scored on a Monk Kreder fielder's choice. Kreder and Andy Wilkins later scored on a two-RBI single by Zack Cox.
Carver extended the lead to 4-1 with his first home run in the fourth inning and Wilkins gave the Razorbacks a 5-1 lead with a solo home run to start the fifth.
It was Wilkins' 32nd career home run, moving him into the top 10 on the school's career list. The junior has hit five home runs this season and has 13 RBIs in his last six games.
Eibner's RBI double plated Cox later in the inning before Carver's second home run gave Arkansas a 9-1 lead.
"We've been working on hitting so it finally feels good to do something like that," Carver said. "Every day someone is going to get that opportunity. Today it was me."
Arkansas chased Cal starter Anderson Dixon after five innings. The sophomore, who hadn't given up an earned run prior to Saturday, allowed nine runs on eight hits.
"I think we did a great job of just battling and making him throw a lot of pitches," Van Horn said. "He seemed to get a little frustrated the second time through the order because we fouled off some tough pitches and weren't striking out. He's more of a strikeout type pitcher and we popped a couple of home runs that really irritated him."
Cal (6-3) added a pair of late home runs to keep things interesting. Marcus Semien's three-run home run off Razorback TJ Forrest pulled the Bears within 9-4 in the sixth inning and Chad Krist added a solo shot off Pratt in the ninth to finish the scoring.
Coupled with a 7-3 win over Cal Friday, the Razorbacks have won their third straight series to start the season. The seven-game winning streak is Arkansas' longest since 2006.
"We got off to a good start yesterday with coming from behind with six outs to play to win that ballgame," Van Horn said. "I think that really boosted our confidence. We felt like we were going to win today. We're a confident team. We feel like as long as we're in the game we can win."
The Razorbacks will go for the sweep Sunday with a first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m., Central time. Eibner (2-0) will take the mound for Arkansas on a 70-pitch count.
Sophomore right-hander Erik Johnson (2-0) will get the nod for Cal. Like Anderson, Johnson didn't give up an earned run in his first two starts.
Arkansas 9, Cal 5
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