February 2, 2013 1:40:09 PM
STARKVILLE - The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog was once again LOOKING LIVE.....at Dudy Noble Field as the Mississippi State University baseball program conducted its fifth preseason scrimmage Friday night.
Here's a bulleted list of highlights for the No. 5 Bulldogs prepare for the 2013 season:
Hunter Renfroe was the only player to clear the fence in batting practice with two massive shots over the left field wall including one that went halfway up the light post in Left Field Lounge. Renfroe, who is coming off an eye-opening 19-home run summer league season with Bethesda, Md., in the Cal Ripken Collegiate League, is clearly taking the approach that MSU head coach John Cohen has pressed on him for three years and will help him put together spring numbers in Starkville that more resemble his gaudy summer numbers.
"Hunter is such a talented young man and I think he's tired and sick of me saying stuff like that," Cohen said. "His deal is he has to get hits instead of trying to hit balls hard. If he just puts the barrel in the right spot instead of trying to really reach back for something extra and doing too much, he'll hit a lot of balls a long way. Does it happen right now, a month from now or when he's 25 years old? You don't know. In terms of raw tools and raw skills, I don't know if I've ever seen the full gamut of skills."
Sophomore Jacob Lindgren worked a solid first two innings before being touched up the second time through the MSU spring-squad order. Lindgren is hoping to be considered for one of the coveted three weekend rotation spots after finishing 2012 with a 2-2 record and a 3.18 ERA in his first season of college baseball, which included a Southeastern Conference tournament start against Louisiana State in Hoover, Ala.
""Jacob Lindgren has maybe the best left-handed slider in America, in my eyes," MSU senior right-handed starter Kendall Graveman said.
- Junior Ben Bracewell had his third solid relief outing of the early spring, second one in nearly freezing temperatures as he jammed three straight hitters for pop outs in his only inning on the mound.
Senior left-handed Luis Pollorena had another relief appearance and he was touched up for a hit but settled down to find the strike zone low in the zone and seems to be a possible late-inning situational option in the MSU bullpen.
The only concern coming out of Friday night was the wildness of Evan Mitchell as the junior walked two batters and was tagged for two runs in his start hours after Cohen told reporters at MSU media day that he'd been more consistent in missing the strike zone in areas where he could still get swing-and-miss action.
""He's eliminated a lot of what I call BM - big miss," Cohen said.
"When you miss big, it causes a whole variety of problems for you on the mound, and he's really eliminated a lot of that, and I think he's got a chance to be one of those three guys. We're a better team if he ends up being one of those (weekend) guys."
Another bright spot out of the scrimmage was Matthew Britton looked to have put his defensive issues aside in his first three scrimmages as the sophomore from Cullman, Ala., ranged deep in the hole between second and first to make a nice out. Britton, who is battling with several players for time at second base, had made five errors over three split-squad scrimmages but showed his athleticism, range and more usual fielding prowess Friday night to regain confidence.
Trey Porter also showcased his ability to be a major power bat from the left side in the MSU lineup as he laced a double down the right field line on a line drive that may have reached the wall on a fly on a warm day. Porter is looking to get consistent at-bats as a designated hitter or situational pinch hitter off the bench against right-handed power relievers this season as the Bulldogs have many potential options at DH in 2013.
"I think Trey is swinging the bat as well as anybody on our entire club," Cohen said. "I think he's really gotten better at first base. If Wes (Rea) has any injure issues or we want to platoon a little bit against a right handed pitcher, certainly Porter is somebody who is just so much better. His entire game is so much better than it was before."
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
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