February 28, 2013 11:27:22 AM
STARKVILLE - Adam Frazier has been waiting months to say the four words regarding the offense of the Mississippi State University baseball program.
"We told you so," Frazier with a smile and laugh when asked about the hot hitting start of the Bulldogs. "We told you all before the season started that we could easily do more than we did last year and that's what is happening."
MSU used its seventh double-digit total for hits this year in extending its season-opening win streak to 11 during a 17-5 victory over the University of Rhode Island Wednesday night at Dudy Noble Field.
Nine members of the MSU roster registered a hit Wednesday night against Rams pitching and the diversity of offensive firepower led to the Bulldogs coming back from a early deficit to dominate Rhode Island starting pitcher Ty Sterner (0-2).
"What we feel good about is our guys offensively are doing what they're being asked of right now," MSU coach John Cohen said. "Whether that's taking quality swings, taking HBPs or walks, they're a much more patient and experienced bunch this year."
Frazier would once again pace MSU from the top of the order with his third three-hit game of the season as the Team USA member this past summer is currently leading the team with a .4XX average.
The 1-2 combination of Frazier and junior center fielder C.T. Bradford are hitting 35 of 84 (.417) this season as MSU looks to put its offensive futility of 2012 behind them with its third double-digit run performance of the season. The duo have combined for 25 of the 89 MSU runs scored so far in this first month of play.
"There's no question that having us both healthy and producing at the top of the order is so key for our offense this season," Bradford said last weekend. "We knew that if we get on, it makes pitchers have to give our sluggers something to hit too and that's just a big confidence builder for them."
The No. 5 Bulldogs, who won its 14th straight game at Dudy Noble Field, dating back to the final regular season sweep of the University of Kentucky in 2012, are averaging 8.1 runs per game this season. This is a jump of nearly four per game from last year and an increase of three runs from this point in the 2012 season.
"We knew we could be a better team at the plate and that's exactly what is happening so far," Frazier said. "Up and down the lineup are guys that want to be better and wanted to improve from last year. It was a certainty this was going to happen."
Rhode Island (0-8) would issue a combined 12 free passes (seven walks and five hit batters) to MSU hitters with five Bulldogs players reaching base multiple times. MSU junior first baseman Alex Detz would find base five times with his second career three-hit day.
Detz is currently hitting .423 (11 of 26) to start a season with a team-high 12 RBIs when the California native wasn't sure what his role would be as a newcomer to the defending Southeastern Conference tournament champions.
"I played summer ball with (Detz) two years ago before we ever signed him and so when I heard we got him, the first thing I thought of was 'well, he can hit'," Frazier said. "His start is not a surprise to me at all."
Even seldom-used senior infielder Sam Frost got into the offensive act Wednesday night by getting on base twice with a career-high four RBIs including a two-run triple in a seven-run seventh inning that guaranteed Rhode Island would be leaving Starkville with its eight straight loss.
"I'm just grateful for the opportunity to play and get a catch to show what I can do in any situation," Frost said. "Whether it's getting a triple like I did tonight or defensively or running the bases, I feel I can help this team."
Frost hit .214 last year with a paltry .271 slugging percentage leaving him perceived to be way behind in the depth chart at second base for the 2013 campaign.
"We still have a lot of decisions to make about a lot of positions before we start SEC play (and the roster must be down to 27 active players) in a few weeks," Cohen said. "The competition of the fall and now this early part of spring at the plate even in this cold weather is really making everyone better."
In his second start of the 2013 season, MSU sophomore right-hander Brandon Woodruff struck out the first three batters he faced but issued three walks in a frustrating 32-pitch second inning. Before leaving the game after giving up a single and a walk to open the fifth frame, Woodruff felt he'd gotten his power stuff back and still felt positive about earning a Southeastern Conference weekend rotation spot.
More importantly, he left the mound Wednesday night convinced he was fully healthy after suffering through elbow tenderness in early spring scrimmages before the season started.
"I'm fine and there's absolutely nothing wrong with the elbow trust me," Woodruff said. "My problem tonight was being able to locate out of the stretch but out of the wind up I was hitting 93-94 (miles-per-hour) no problem after being stretched out."
The Bulldogs will look to make it 15 wins in a row at Dudy Noble Field Friday at 4 p.m. when they open a four-game weekend series against Saint Joseph's University.
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.
5. King of the Con Men BOOK REVIEWS