While driving to Baum Stadium on Saturday morning, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn decided it was time to revive Razorback junior Matt Vinson's career.
Vinson was batting just .150 this season, had not started since April 14th and was not even on the travel roster to road series at Ole Miss and Florida.
But Saturday he got a start and went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles as No. 18 Arkansas downed No. 5 South Carolina 7-6 before 6,747 fans at Baum Stadium.
"They were throwing a lefty and Matt hadn't played in a long time, hadn't traveled in a couple of SEC road trips, but he hasn't complained and hadn't said anything, just keeps working and going about his business like a mature player will," Van Horn said.
"Driving in this morning, I just thought our defense was pretty iffy yesterday in the outfield and (Randall) Fant was going to be on the mound and he gives up fly balls," Van Horn added. "They hit him and we want them to make contact off of him. I just said I am going to go with defense and Matt is one of our best outfielders and maybe he will run into one, hit a double, hit a home run because he has a lot of power. He came through with a couple of doubles."
The former Alma standout admitted to being surprised at seeing his name in the starting line-up.
"I walked in and didn't even look at it," Vinson said. "Somebody told me and I went and looked at it to make sure. I saw it and had to do my job to help my win.
"It was great – I always want to play and see my name in the line-up," Vinson added. "It was an awesome feeling."
Vinson had only one double this season coming into the game, but started Arkansas' two-run rally in the third inning with a double and had an RBI double in the fourth.
He also got down a sacrifice bunt in the Razorbacks' two-run sixth that gave them the lead for good.
"I always want to be in the game because I am a competitor so I want to be on the field," Vinson said. "But I was just patient and waiting my time and working with the coaches."
On the third inning double, Vinson slid way before the base but somehow got in around the tag.
He would then get to third on a fielder's choice in which he looked like he would be out and then scored on a bunt single.
"I was aggressive on the double, but I don't know how smart it was to third on the play," Vinson said. "It ended up working out."
Arkansas (34-14, 12-11) and South Carolina (35-12, 15-8) – whose 12-game SEC winning streak ended with the loss - will meet Sunday at 1:05 p.m. in the rubber game of the series.
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