Hogs Senior Makes Most Of Plate Appearances

FAYETTEVILLE -- In case you didn't already know it, Arkansas senior third baseman Clay Goodwin is the ultimate team player.

Historically, he could be compared with the first guy to help raise the flag at Iwo Jima and the last guy standing at the Alamo.

He's a give-the-shirt-off-his-back type of guy.

So it should come as no surprise he could care less that his batting average is rising faster than the nation's gas prices.

"I'm not worried about that right now," Goodwin said. "That's not the most important thing to me.

"Winning is what's important."

Still, it didn't hurt that Goodwin went 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs to help No. 8 Arkansas beat No. 24 Mississippi State 10-5 in front of 1,172 fans in Baum Stadium on a cold, drizzling Sunday afternoon.

"That was just a big win," Goodwin said. "That right there was the most important win of the year.

"I'm just proud of our team and how we came out and took care of business today."

Goodwin was all business at the plate, hitting a solo home run -- his fourth of the season and second in two days -- to right-center field in the second inning to cut MSU's lead to 3-1 and jump start the offense.

In the fifth inning, Goodwin doubled in another run. In his other at-bats, he was hit by a pitch and grounded out to second.

He finished the weekend by going 5-for-9 with 3 RBIs and lifted his batting average from .234 to .281.

So how did he do it?

"There's a few things, but nothing in particular," Goodwin said. "I have no idea exactly what caused it but hopefully I'll keep it up and hopefully we can get back on a good roll.

"Hopefully, this will give us some momentum."

Arkansas lost the first two games of the series. MSU won Friday's game 5-3 and clobbered the Razorbacks 13-4 on Saturday.

Despite the losses, Goodwin showed signs of turning things around at the plate.

"We needed somebody to step up and pick us up today," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "He hit the ball good this whole weekend. He was due. He's had some tough luck, a lot of bad days but he's had a lot of good days. He had some good swings today and this weekend.

"That batting average is going up and we need some production from him.

"And we need people to drive in runs."

Goodwin, who hit four homers in 226 at-bats with 32 RBIs last year, already has driven in 23 runs this season.

"Clay's always had it," said teammate Danny Hamblin. "You know, he's got a little bit of confidence now he's just coming out and swinging the bat. Yesterday (Saturday), he had a great b.p. (batting practice).

"He's going up there with a lot of confidence and swinging like he knows he can. On the defensive side, he's making great defensive plays.

"He helped us out today."

Hogs catcher Brian Walker agreed.

"Clay and I both have been struggling," Walker said. "It's good to see him busting out of it again today. He's been taking good swings. It's just a confidence deal, that's the whole thing with him.

"To see him hit, to see the smile on his face, not thinking about it. It's just great. He works as hard as anyone. He's a senior and he leads this team.

"He deserves to play well."






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