June 8, 2013 11:48:07 PM
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Clearly all Adam Frazier and Hunter Renfroe needed was to hear their name called in the 2013 MLB Draft.
In a 11-6 victory over the No. 6 overall seed University of Virginia Saturday in Game 1 of the Charlottesville Super Regional, Mississippi State University's two premier offensive players had the best day of their college careers just days after being selected in the professional draft.
"You wouldn't be human if you're 20 or 21 years old not sitting there with it in the back of your mind," MSU coach John Cohen said. "I know that everybody came to Adam Frazier asking him 'Have you heard anything yet?'"
Frazier and Renfroe combined for 10 hits, six RBIs and four runs scored against one of the top pitching programs in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Frazier, who was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates Friday afternoon in the sixth round, tied the school's single-game record with four other players by earning six hits. The last MSU player to accomplish the feat was Burke Masters in a 1990 NCAA Starkville Regional game against Florida State University In his 167th career game at MSU, Frazier accomplished more than four hits for the first time.
Frazier's sixth hit, a single in the eighth inning, marked his 100th hit of the 2013 season and makes the Bishop, Ga., native one of only four players in school history to reach the century mark in hits in a single season. Frazier passed Cohen and MLB All-Star player Rafael Palmeiro on the single-season list Saturday. Frazier is three hits short of the MSU single season record set by Brian Wiese in 1998.
"There were a couple of them that were lucky but it was a pretty simple day of getting pitches to hit and I was fortunate enough to have the contact find open ground," Frazier said.
Renfroe, who was drafted in the first round with the 13th overall selection by the San Diego Padres, got on base in his first five plate appearances and ended the afternoon 4 for 5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. In batting practice before the game Renfroe hit two balls deep over the left field grandstands showing he was seeing the ball better than the previous month. Saturday represented only the second four-hit performance from the junior right fielder from Crystal Springs. He credited the larger hitters eye for his performance at the plate.
"I think if we had that big huge wall in center in Starkville I think we would've hit better," Renfroe joked as he looked at his Cohen two seats to his right at the media conference table.
Cohen even mentioned on the ESPN2 broadcast in the middle of the game how he felt strongly that Frazier, who is usually defined by his calm demeanor, needed to have the pressure of the professional draft behind him mentally in order to perform well in this Super Regional series.
"I think all 16 coaches in this Super Regional round come to this weekend with that thought in mind," Cohen said. "Again, I'd love to see the reaction of SEC football coaches that hey, we're going to make the draft in December before your bowl game."
Frazier, who was not drafted out of Oconee County High School despite being a honorable mention Louisville Slugger All-American selection, found out he was selected by the Pirates Friday afternoon during the team lunch at Davenport Field following a indoor practice session.
"I think any time you can get that stuff off your mind and that pressure off you, you're going to be more relaxed," Frazier said. "I think that goes for everybody out there in that situation."
Frazier and Renfroe were part of a MSU offense that jumped all over Virginia's five freshmen pitchers for 20 hits, which represented the most given up this season for the Cavaliers (50-11) in a game, starting with left hander Brandon Waddell. Waddell (6-3), who had been Virginia's Friday night starter throughout the 2013 campaign, couldn't force many swing and misses from the MSU lineup as he allowed six hits and six runs in just 3 1/3 innings over 83 pitches.
The first four members of the MSU (47-18) lineup (Frazier, Alex Detz, Renfroe and Brett Pirtle) were 12 for 19 with seven runs scored and eight RBIs. The 20 hits are the most by any MSU team in the 10th Super Regional game for the program.
"It's all about rhythm at the plate and I think the whole club is hitting the ball well and taking really good swings," Renfroe said. "You just have to make sure you're looking at things up in the zone and not chasing pitches. Once you get good barrel, good things are going to happen."
MSU will try to clinch its ninth trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., tonight when they play Game 2 of the Charlottesville Super Regional at Davenport Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m., and will be broadcasted on ESPNU.
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.
4. Scandals in the Nunnery BOOK REVIEWS