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Former Razorbacks baseball standout Reynolds taking his talent to Japan

Former Razorbacks baseball standout Reynolds taking his talent to Japan

After spending the past 11 seasons playing professional baseball in the United States, former Arkansas All-SEC infielder Matt Reynolds is taking his talent overseas.

The 33-year-old Reynolds signed a one-year contract with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Nippon Professional Baseball League in November. He will head to Japan in about three weeks to begin workouts with his new club.

A dual-sport standout at Tulsa’s Bishop-Kelley High school, Reynolds spurned a few college basketball offers to play baseball for the Razorbacks from 2010-12. In his three seasons at Arkansas, he started 141 games and hit .275 with 72 RBI. He was also a part of the 2012 College World Series team that advanced to the national semifinals.

“Playing at Arkansas was huge for my career, and definitely prepared me for the higher levels of pro ball,” Reynolds said. “Getting to play in front of 12,000 fans on the weekend is probably one of my favorite experiences in my baseball career.

“Once you get into pro ball, it’s just a different animal and you really begin to realize how much you miss playing in the college game. The pros has the business side of things that you don’t have to deal with in college. In college, I could go 0-for-4, but if we won, I was pumped. In pro ball it’s just different, with the pressure of performing, so you can hopefully get called up.”

Obviously, playing in the College World Series is one of the highlights of his collegiate career, but he can still recall a number of special moments while playing in Fayetteville, that will forever be etched in his mind.

He vividly recalls James McCann’s three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth in 2011 that gave the No. 22 Razorbacks a 4-3 win over the No. 15 Tigers in front of an all-time record crowd at Baum Stadium.

“It feels like that just happened yesterday,” Reynolds said with a chuckle.

Then there was Collin Kuhn’s two-out grand slam in 2010 to give Arkansas a 17-16 win over Kentucky in an epic game on Easter Sunday. Kuhn’s mother, who was battling cancer, was in the stands after traveling from Wisconsin to watch him play.

“God was definitely looking over him in that situation, and I will never forget that moment,” Reynolds said. “Just so many special memories.”

Reynolds was drafted by the New York Mets in the second round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft – the 71st overall selection. He made his professional debut that season for the Savannah Sand Gnats of the…

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