FAYETTEVILLE - A big series loomed this weekend with SEC West rival LSU, but don't think Arkansas was looking ahead when Texas State came to Baum Stadium on Wednesday.
"We knew they were good," Jarrod McKinney said. "We knew that it was going to be a tough, tough game for us. It was."
The Bobcats jumped to a 2-0 lead with back-to-back home runs in the second inning, but the Hogs scored every time the visitors tallied to earn a 6-5 victory before 4,177 on a perfect weather evening.
The Hogs won it with two in the seventh and eighth, the last two on back-to-back triples by Bo Bigham and McKinney, with Matt Reynolds knocking in McKinney on a sacrifice fly to right. Rightfielder Joey Fuda made a perfect throw to the plate, but McKinney slid head first just in time.
"I really didn't think it would be close when I saw where he was," McKinney said. "But he did make a great throw."
"He won't let me go feet first," McKinney said. "So I went the other way."
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn didn't hesitate to send McKinney from third.
"He's our fastest runner," Van Horn said. "He's healthy again. You saw him turn it on with the triple. I think he thought it was going to be caught and when it went over his head in center, he put it into another gear."
The Hogs swung the bats well, but didn't have a lot to show for it through six innings. They had 13 hits and left 10 on base. Van Horn was disappointed in some strikeouts with runners in scoring position early in the game.
"We had four on third with less than one out and didn't get them home," he said. "You have to get the bat on the ball in that situation.
"But there were some two-out swings that were pretty good. We hit them right at the outfielders several times. That's baseball sometimes. But I think we are getting better swings.
"I like the idea that we came back every inning they did and scored. Our pitching was good, too. We had seven pitchers written on the card and six of them went. None too long. So they are all good for the weekend."
Ryne Stanek started and gave up only the two home runs in three innings. The wind was blowing out to left early, then calm for the last five innings. Cade Lynch, Barrett Astin, Trent Daniel and Colby Suggs all pitched well before Nolan Sanburn closed with a perfect ninth.
"It was a good night to hit," Van Horn said. "That's the best it has carried here this year."
Kyle Robinson hit a solo home run in the second to answer the early salvos from Texas State. Collin Kuhn led the Hogs with three hits to push his average to .304. Dominic Ficociello, Bigham and McKinney also added two hits.
The Hogs (20-8) are excited to turn their attention to the LSU series.
"This was a big game for us with their RPI and we needed to get it first," McKinney said. "But now we can think about LSU. Really, we've been looking forward to the LSU series since last year."
Bigham said, "When it's LSU-Arkansas, it's always huge for both teams. It's a huge rivalry. It's big for the teams and it's big for the fans. We know it's going to be a big crowd in our park this weekend. LSU packed their stadium last year and we know our fans are going to be here this weekend.
"Both teams have the same SEC record (3-6) and both know that winning the series will put them in a much better position in the standings. Both of us are going to put a lot on this series.
"I think we started swinging the bats better at Alabama. We hit it hard both Saturday and Sunday but a lot of balls were right at fielders. That happened again tonight. It's going to start falling. We know that's the way baseball works. But we feel good about how we are hitting the ball right now."