Arkansas’ designated hitter, Matt Goodheart, led the Razorbacks in hitting during his first season as a Hog. He also earned second team All-SEC and All-SEC Tournament honors. However, he has had some setbacks since then.
Goodheart spent the off-season recovering from shoulder surgery in the summer. Then a minor hamstring injury forced him to be cautious during recent practices.
He says it was, “For more of a precautionary reason. I didn’t run during the opening weekend of scrimmages and inter-squads. Honestly I could have. I don’t want any set backs I want to be ready for opening day when it really matters.”
And it looks like he will be ready to go come Friday when Arkansas hosts Eastern Illinois for a three game series to start the season.
Somewhere in the stands this weekend will likely be Goodheart’s dad, Steve. The former college baseball coach and scout is almost always at the Hogs home games cheering on his son.
“It’s always kind of been instilled in me,” says Goodheart. “It’s not like he made me do this but it’s more of a, he lead by example. His love for the game was definitely obvious in our house. I feel like that’s what contributes to my love for the game.”
That love for the game lead Goodheart to San Jacinto Community College where he batted .355 in 58 games, while hitting seven home runs and notching 43 RBIs with 55 runs scored and nine stolen bases. Arkansas head coach, Dave Van Horn, took notice and reached out to Goodheart following his freshman year.
“He talked to me very little out of high school,” says Goodheart. “I thought getting in to the SEC and playing in obviously one of the best programs in the country if not the best program in the country is the way to go. When coach Van Horn reached out I was very excited. I was like this could be the move for me. I was all for it. Told my parents, told my family, told my coaching staff and here I am.”
One of the more interesting things about Goodheart is that even though he never really dreamed of playing for the Razorbacks even though he’s from Magnolia, Arkansas. He says the reason behind that is because neither of his parents are from Arkansas.
“My mom grew up in California and my dad grew up in Montana,” says Goodheart. “They both ended up at Southern Arkansas University. So I grew up in an atmosphere where the Arkansas Razorbacks were the school. But I wasn’t biased towards only the Razorbacks. My end goal was to play professional baseball and the dream to play in the big leagues one day.”
He believes Arkansas gives him the best chance of accomplishing that goal. And despite not growing up with dreams of being a Razorbacks, Goodheart says he couldn’t imagine playing college ball anywhere else.