FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas third baseman Matt Reynolds promises he feels just fine now.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas third baseman Matt Reynolds promises he feels just fine now.

The pitch that hit the junior in the elbow during his first at-bat in the Southeastern Conference Tournament set an unfortunate tone for a disappointing two days. He had no feeling in his arm after it happened, began to feel nauseated and couldn’t continue in a 9-1 loss to Mississippi State. But Reynolds said it doesn’t bother him a week later as Arkansas prepares for NCAA Regional play.

“It’s 100 percent,” Reynolds said Tuesday.

That’s good news for Arkansas (39-19), which needs the Tulsa native at his best when it opens NCAA Regional play against Sam Houston State (38-20) in Rice’s Reckling Park on Friday.

Reynolds has been the sure thing in an inconsistent Arkansas lineup. He enters the Houston Regional leading the team in hitting (.340), doubles (18), home runs (7), and RBIs (41). He also is second in stolen bases (12) and has been solid defensively at the hot corner (.948 fielding percentage).

The resume helped the team captain earn first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors on Tuesday. Second baseman Bo Bigham was named to the second team, while first baseman Dominic Ficociello also joined Reynolds on the SEC’s All-Defensive team.

“He’s just done a tremendous job,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said before the SEC Tournament. “He’s been Steady Eddie almost the whole year. I think he got down to .308 somewhere like that and then he jumped it back up there and has stayed at .330 plus almost the whole season. That’s tough to do.”

It’s also a big jump from his two previous seasons with the Razorbacks.

Reynolds struggled with injuries as a freshman and sophomore, averaging .233 with 62 hits in 83 games. But Reynolds has 68 hits this season alone and had a streak in which he reached base in 39 straight games.

The offensive improvement has been no surprise to Arkansas’ coaches, who predicted it would happen before the season after watching Reynolds thrive last summer.

“He’s been a great player,” Arkansas hitting coach Todd Butler said. “For two years he struggled. He had injuries and he’s worked hard. He’s a consummate professional type guy and he knows what he’s doing. … We knew he was good. That’s why we recruited him here.”

Reynolds said patience and persistence have been key to his improvement this season.

He also said confidence has been important, referencing a book he read in the offseason called “Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence.” Reynolds said it meant plenty.

“A lot of it had to do with mentality,” Reynolds said. “My dad always told me you should have the mentality that the pitcher can’t beat you. Last year I was probably struggling with my confidence, going up there wondering if I was going to get a hit instead of knowing if I was going to get a hit.”

Reynolds — who is draft eligible this summer and will likely be one of the first Razorbacks selected when it begins June 4 — has saved his best for late in the season.

Reynolds hit .476 over the final 10 regular season games. He had six multi-hit games during that stretch and topped the three-hit mark four times. It included a 4-for-5 effort in the 6-5 win against Louisiana Tech.

He and the Razorbacks hope it continues after slumping to just one run in two SEC Tournament games. Arkansas won’t be able to win games with Reynolds’ success at the plate alone. But 2012 has shown Reynolds can be valuable when he’s comfortable and confident.

“I feel like all the hard work has paid off that I put in during the summer and in the fall with coach Butler and (volunteer assistant Brian) Walker,” Reynolds said.

“The results are starting to show. My swing isn’t exactly how I want it, but I’m still working on it with the coaches. Hopefully the results will show in postseason, too.”