Arkansas lefty Cade Lynch isn't where he wants to be yet, but he's a long way down the road from where he was two months ago.
Lynch allowed just three hits over the first four innings as the Hogs rode Kyle Robinson's hot bat to an 8-3 college baseball victory Wednesday over McNeese State before 2,345 at Baum Stadium.
Lynch, sophomore transfer, had surgery to relieve pressure behind his skull during the Christmas break. His migraine headaches have subsided. The Jonesboro product has now worked himself into the weekend starting rotation.
"He might have gotten a little tired in the fourth, but he was pretty good," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "He's still working up his pitch count. I don't think he's even allowed to do everything in our conditioning yet."
Lynch confirmed he's swimming and riding an exercise bike, but not doing the distance running and sprints with the rest of the pitching staff per doctor's orders.
"I think the running will help my stamina," he said. "So where I'll be after I can do that is going to be much better. You pitch with your legs and when your legs go, the rest goes after that pretty fast. But I am doing a lot of swimming and stuff on the bike. I'm getting there."
Robinson cracked a grand slam deep over the wall in left center to stake the Hogs to a 4-0 lead. He added an "excuse me" single to right on a check swing in the third during a three-run UA rally to put him on base in seven straight at bats. He finished 2-for-4 after nearly beating out a swinging bunt on his next at bat.
Robinson leads the Hogs with 17 hits in 32 at bats with 14 RBI. That figures to a .531 average in the 7-1 start for the Hogs.
"Not a surprise," Van Horn said. "He led us in average and power in the fall. He was our best in both those areas and he continues to hit."
Matt Reynolds has been solid, too. He had two hits and scored two runs Wednesday to raise his average to .355 with a 11 for 31 start.
"Matt has been very good," Van Horn said. "We've got some other guys who are starting to hit and we just need to keep picking each other up."
Arkansas used six pitchers on the day. Randall Fant was solid for two innings after Lynch. DJ Baxendale recorded the last out when Jeff Harvill gave up two runs and loaded the bases in the ninth.
The Hogs played without leadoff man Collin Kuhn. The junior outfielder jammed his hand on a head-first slide on Tuesday.
"It's swollen, but nothing is broken," Van Horn said. "He won't practice Thursday and he's iffy for Friday's game."
Van Horn said Lynch will get the start on Sunday on three day's rest.
"That's why we pulled him after four today," Van Horn said. "We'll move Brandon Moore up to Saturday."
The Hogs play host to Wisconsin-Milwaukee in a three-game set beginning at 3:05 p.m. Friday.
"I've played them for a long time dating back to when I was at Nebraska," Van Horn said. "They have always been able to hit. They are an offensive-minded team. They won a game at Tennessee last weekend."
Kyle Robinson is congratulated after his grand slam.
Dominic Ficociello heads to first after a single.
Cade Lynch threw four strong innings.
Photos by Marc F. Henning, Hawgs Illustrated
Arkansas 8, McNeese State 3
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