Natural Born Leader

University of Arkansas junior standout Logan Forsythe will lead the Razorbacks into a a key three-game set at Mississippi State that begins Thursday night with a 6:35 p.m. game at Dudy Noble Field.

FAYETTEVILLE - His Memphis accent is thicker than a jar of molasses and he sounds exactly like Elvis.

And when Logan Forsythe talks, people listen because he's a natural born leader.

In his three-year career at Arkansas, the 6-foot-1, 208-pound junior third baseman has developed a reputation of being a reliable source of guidance.

His Razorbacks teammates have faithfully followed his lead even when this season seemed like a lost cause.

Though crippled with injuries ranging from a broken bone in his right foot to a hamstring pull, Forsythe has helped put Arkansas on the threshold of securing a bid for the Southeastern Conference Tournament, something which seemed nearly impossible earlier.

"Having the experience, guys that have been there that are on the team has helped," Forsythe said. "You know, that's what we talk about. We looked at the standings after the Alabama series and we said, 'You know what, man? We've got a shot. We can do this.'

"We got everybody on board. I think everybody is starting to come on board because that's what we are fighting for, the SEC Tournament."

In a sweep of then-No. 17 South Carolina last weekend in Baum Stadium, Forsythe stepped up to the plate and produced when the Razorbacks needed him most.

Here's how he did it:

* Batted .545 for the weekend with six hits in 11 at-bats.

* Scored five runs and drove in four with one double and two home runs.

* Had a streak of nine straight games with at least one RBI. During that span, he had 19 RBI.

In 45 games this season, Forsythe is batting .335 with 7 home runs and 29 RBIs. He's also stolen a team-high 11 bases on 13 attempts.

More than anything, Forsythe convinced his teammates, and some critics, that the season wouldn't be a wash.

"From the leadership point, it's not just me," Forsythe said. "You've got all the older guys who have been here that are getting key hits, making key plays. That's what we have to do. We have to have the chemistry all around.

"I feel healthy. I don't know if I'm 100 percent. It's just more comfortable at the plate instead of having something nagging. I know it's the end of the year. I know it's our time to make a move or not.

"I'm just trying to be the guy to show the younger guys that we can do this."

That quest for an SEC Tournament berth continues when the Razorbacks open a conference series against Mississippi State at 6:35 p.m. Thursday night in Starkville, Miss.

"I think he's 100 percent confident now," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "He doesn't feel like he has to be the equal of two players. He can be Logan Forsythe. Great defensive player. Good hitter. He doesn't have to do all the other things. I think he's felt that way for awhile.

"I think he said, 'It's time for me to go, I've got to roll.' He's done that. He's taken off. You can really see it in his swing. He's real confident. I know that South Carolina was leery. After the first two games, they started walking him early, pitching around him, throwing a lot of breaking balls in fastball counts.

"That shows a lot of respect."

And like Forsythe's accent, a respect that is thicker than a jar of molasses.

TODAY'S TICKET

Arkansas Razorbacks at Mississippi State Bulldogs

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. today WHERE: Dudy Noble Field, Starkville, Miss.

SERIES: Mississippi State leads, 39-26 LAST MEETING: Arkansas won 9-3 on April 8, 2007 in Fayetteville

TV: none

ON THE AIR: KFAY 1030 AM; KURM 790 AM, 100.3 FM; KHGG 1580 AM, 103.1 FM; KXIO 106.9 FM

LAST TIME OUT: Arkansas used a seven-run second inning to erase an early two-run deficit in a 12-3 win against Mississippi Valley State on Monday.


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