"Any time you can come back from four runs down on a team that got after you the night before and facing their best pitcher, it builds a lot of confidence," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn, whose team fell 9-3 to the Jayhawks Tuesday.
"We've played OK and won four out of five games, but we haven't played near as well as we're going to. I think the players got a sense of what it's going to be like down the road when we start gelling a little bit better and hitting on all cylinders."
The Hogs' biggest confidence builder came at the plate against the Jayhawks. After struggling for hits in a weekend sweep of Washington State, the Razorbacks continued to swing colder bats than expected in the first game of the Kansas series.
It all changed Wednesday, however. Arkansas switched up its lineup, inserting freshman Collin Kuhn into second in the batting order. The result was a season-high for the team in hits (12) and runs scored (9).
"He's such a good athlete," Van Horn said of Kuhn, who finished 2-of-4 with a pair of RBIs. "He's got a good eye and he can hit, and he brings a little bit of a run-scorer to the top."
Andrew Darr also got the starting nod Wednesday at first base in an attempt to get more right-handed hitters in the order. The senior doubled and scored in the fifth inning to get the Razorbacks on the board.
Van Horn said the front of the order is beginning to solidify itself, but the club needs the fourth and fifth spots to step up.
"We've got a couple that are struggling, but when we get them going I think we're really going to take off," Van Horn said. "Hopefully it can happen this weekend."
The bat struggling the most belongs to center fielder Brett Eibner, who is hitting just .111 in five games with 12 strikeouts.
"We've been telling him to keep his head up and not worry about it when he heads up to the plate," Van Horn said. "If you're worrying about striking out rather than making solid contact, you're probably going to strike out.
"He needs to get over it and move on. That's easier said than done, but it really comes down to attitude and make-up…I know he's happy the team is winning, but he wants to contribute more and he's going to get that opportunity."
Senior second baseman Ben Tschepikow said he believes the team will carry momentum from the midweek into this weekend's series with Western Illinois, which begins this afternoon at 3:05.
"Any time you get a win like that you have to take it as a positive," Tschepikow said. "We could have won or we could have lost the game.
"Our offense hasn't really produced like we know it can and like we saw in the fall, so it was really good to see."
Van Horn said the Leathernecks (0-4) are a bit of an unknown, with only scouting reports coming from their opening series with Oklahoma last weekend and notes from a series Arkansas had with the team late last season.
"They played Oklahoma tough for about a half-game, three of the four games," Van Horn said. "They pitched pretty well at the first of their games, but their bullpen let them down and they gave up a lot of runs.
"What we need to do is just get after them."