FILE - Jacob Lindgren will get the opening day start vs. Portland Friday (4 p.m., Dudy Noble Field). Photo by: MSU athletics
February 13, 2013 11:51:25 AM
STARKVILLE - Jacob Lindgren has been given the honor for the opening day pitching start for the Mississippi State University baseball program in 2013.
MSU coach John Cohen confirmed the selection of the sophomore left-handed starting pitcher for Friday's opener against the University of Portland in a 4 p.m. start time at Dudy Noble Field.
Lindgren's performances in three preseason scrimmages, where he showed improved control and velocity from his freshman season, showcased his ability to possibly earn the coveted Friday night role when Southeastern Conference play begins next month.
"Jacob Lindgren has maybe the best left-handed slider in America, in my eyes," MSU senior right-handed starting pitcher Kendall Graveman said.
Lindgren pitched last summer in the nationally recognized Cape Cod Collegiate League for the Harwich Mariners where he faced the highest form of competition in front of numerous professional scouts.
In an ironic twist, Lindgren will start the first game in 2013 after getting a start on the mound in the Bulldogs 2012 season finale. In a 3-2 loss to Samford University in a NCAA Regional at Florida State University, Lindgren allowed just one run over eight hits in four innings.
"Certainly Jacob Lindgren is somebody who has just pitched very, very well early in the spring and has a power breaking ball, power fastball, and again has been able to control the strike zone for the most part," Cohen said.
Lindgren had to wait until May 25th to get his first collegiate start last year in a SEC Tournament win over Louisiana State University where the St. Stanislaus High School star struggled early but allowed just three runs over five hits in 4 2/3 innings. Lindgren gave up two runs in a 36-pitch inning against the Tigers but rallied to keep MSU in the game where they'd eventually win 4-3.
Lindgren told The Dispatch last year he turned down offers over $500,000 to attend MSU after being drafted in the 12th round out of high school by the Chicago Cubs two years ago. As a senior in high school, the Bay St. Louis native was 8-0 with a 1.09 ERA and collected 128 strikeouts.
Like every other MSU starting pitcher in this four-game weekend series against the Pilots of the West Coast Conference, Lindgren will be on a stringent pitch count by MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson.
The possible pair for Lindgren is junior right-hander Evan Mitchell, who is hoping to earn a weekend role as well, as two of them faced each in consecutive weekend preseason scrimmages this spring.
MSU plans to use what Thompson refers to as the buddy system on the mound again in the first month of this season.
"Especially early in the year when you're going to get, what are you going to get, 80 pitches, maybe 90 pitches out of somebody in a start, you're going to have to kind of cobble the whole thing together a little bit," Cohen said. "Early on for example we were really trying to see who Chris Stratton was going to be (and) he certainly emerged. So they kind of flip-flopped roles with your normal reliever going first. Early on it just has to be that way."
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