February 15, 2013 11:44:14 AM
STARKVILLE - Welcome to opening day at Dudy Noble Field for the start of the 2013 season and the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog will bring you a comprehensive pre-game blog before the first pitch of every home game of the 123rd season of Mississippi State University baseball.
Also feel free to follow me for live game updates on Twitter through @matthewcstevens
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2012: Mississippi State made it back-to-back postseason appearances in 2012, after winning the Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Ala., MSU was the No. 2 seed in the Tallahassee Regional NCAA Atlanta Regional where they lost twice to Samford University to finish 40-24 finish. 23 lettermen and 12 of the 15 Bulldogs who pitched last season return for MSU while 8 of the 9 starters in the everyday lineup return this season.
TODAY'S STARTING PITCHERS AND PROJECTED STARTERS:
PITCHER: Jacob Lindgren - LHP - Sophomore - (2-2, 3.18 in 14 appearances including 2 starts in 2012) - The southpaw from St. Stanislaus High School 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. 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.
"It's always been my dream to start on Friday night at a big time school and Mississippi State is certainly one them so I'm excited and ready to go," Lindgren said.
In terms of stuff Lindgren throws both a four-seam and two-seam fastball that range between 91-93 miles-per-hour, a power slider that can register at 87 miles-per-hour and has been working in the fall and early spring on a changeup with MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson.
PROJECTED STARTERS (2012 statistics):
C - Mitch Slauter, Sr., RH - .232, 23 RBI, 10 doubles; Closed the year with a six-game postseason hitting streak. Hit .364 (4-for-11) in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional and was named to the regional's all-tourney team.
1B - Wes Rea, RS-Soph., RH - .244, 5 home runs, 38 RBI, 12 doubles, .992 fielding percentage; Among four Bulldogs named to the all-tourney team at the 2012 NCAA Tallahassee Regional Hit .308 (4-for-13) with a double in each of three games in the regional at FSU. Coming off having therapy on a cyst injury in his shoulder.
2B - Brett Pirtle, Jr., SH - Started 50 of 52 games and hit .222 with 20 RBI for Panola (Texas) College. Selected to play in the 2011 Texas-New Mexico Junior College All-Star Game. Hit .314 in 2012 summer league baseball competition with the Hoptown Hoppers of the Ohio Valley League.
SS - Adam Frazier, Jr., LH - .371, 16 doubles, .445 slugging %, 9 stolen bases. A member of the 2012 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, has earned preseason All-America team honors after a sophomore campaign that saw him rank third in the SEC with a .371 batting average and 91 hits. He also led the SEC with 227 assists, most by a MSU shortstop.
3B - Daryl Norris, Jr.., RH - .273, 25 RBI, .380 on-base %. Played in 45 games with 43 starts during an injury-impacted sophomore season. Drew his first career start at third base against Washington State (Feb. 17) on opening day and started 35 games at the hot corner.
LF - Demarcus Henderson, Jr., RH - .245, 17 runs scored, 6 stolen bases. Named to the 2012 SEC All-Tournament Team · Played summer league baseball with the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Mohawks in the Perfect Game League, hitting .255 with nine stolen bases
CF - C.T. Bradford, Jr.., LH - .258, 19 runs scored, 17 RBI, .345 on-base %. Most experienced Bulldog outfielder with 91 starts (72 in CF, 10 in RF and 9 in LF) · Sports a .288 batting average with 106 hits and 14 stolen bases in 97 career games played. Missed the first and last three SEC weekend series due to shoulder injury.
RF - Hunter Renfroe, Jr., RH - .252, 24 runs scored, 4 home runs, 25 RBI. A preseason All-America selection who started 60 of 61 games played as a sophomore inluding 33 games in center field following the injury to C.T. Bradford. Starred in the Cal Ripken Collegiate League last summer with the Bethesda (Md.) Big Train, hitting .364 and setting regular season league records with 19 home runs, 52 runs scored and 57 RBI.
DH - Trey Porter, Sr.., LH - 259, 26 runs scored, 9 doubles, 5 home runs, 24 RBI. Played in 60 of MSU's 64 games, drawing 59 starts --- 50 as the designated hitter, five in left field, one in right field, two at third base and one at first base
PORTLAND STARTING PITCHER: Matt McCallister - RHP - Sr. - The Phoenix, Arizona native made four starts and seven appearances going 3-3 with a 3.86 ER. McCallister struck out 12 and walked just three in 25.2 innings. Two seasons ago struck out eight batters in five innings against the University of Oregon, getting a no decision despite allowing just two runs on three hits.
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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