March 2, 2013 10:35:08 PM
STARKVILLE -- Not too long ago Mississippi State coach John Cohen saw a breakout performance on the mound like Jacob Lindgren delivered Friday night.
Less than a year ago, Chris Stratton struck out 17 batters in a no-decision at Louisiana State University to introduce himself to the not only every professional baseball scout in the area but become a front-runner for the Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year award.
Lindgren, a sophomore left-hander, was just that dominant in a 10-0 blowout victory of St. Joseph's University Friday. The St. Stanislaus High School star, who turned down over $100,000 in signing bonus money after being drafted in the 12th round by the Chicago Cubs, set career highs for longest outing (seven innings) and number of strikeouts (13) in a 89-pitch showing where only two balls were hit out of the infield at Dudy Noble Field.
"I think Jacob could've beaten anybody with the stuff he had tonight and the way he competed," Cohen said. "I thought he went into attack mode early and never came off of it."
Stratton continued through last season to lead MSU from the Friday night role of the weekend rotation -- a role Lindgren hopes to continue the success from this season for the Bulldogs.
"I wouldn't necessarily call it a breakout because when you strike out 17 at LSU that's a little different but do I think Jacob is capable of that -- absolutely," Cohen said.
Lindgren (2-0) allowed just one hit and retired 11 batters in a row at one point in the contest. He has yet to pitch with a deficit in the 2013 season. In 18 1/3 innings, Lindgren has allowed just two earned runs this season while striking out 22.
"I've actually never pitched when it was snowing so that was certainly an experience tonight no doubt," Lindgren said with a laugh.
The top of the MSU order carried the Bulldogs offense again as juniors Adam Frazier and C.T. Bradford combined to go 4-of-8 with three runs scored and four RBIs.
In his first start since suffering a quad injury in the opening weekend, Wes Rea went 2 for 2 with a pair of singles and a run scored. The 265-pound first baseman was removed in the middle of the game for precautionary reasons due to game time temperatures being near 30 degrees with small snow flurries in the later innings.
"Guys have been just doing a real good job of putting together some good swings and getting timely hitting," Rea said.
No. 5 MSU (13-0) made it 16 wins in a row at Dudy Noble Field as on a 30-degree day junior Evan Mitchell, sophomore Ross Mitchell and sophomore closer Jonathan Holder combined to hold St. Joseph's to five hits in a 4-1 victory Saturday.
"I told the team all day today that you're competing against the elements and the game today," Cohen said Saturday. "You're trying to keep yourself warm enough to execute certain things in the game and it's difficult."
Saturday's win marked the 100th at Dudy Noble Field for John Cohen as he works his fifth season as head coach at his alma mater.
Ross Mitchell (4-0) who now leads the nation in victories after making 24 appearances last joked the Mitchell-Mitchell combination is effective because of their contrasting styles that is more than being right and left-handed.
"Yeah, I think it works out great because he's a hard throwing righty and I'm a hard-throwing lefty," Ross Mitchell, who tops out at 85 miles per hour, said with a laugh. "Now it is two distant looks that hitters have to deal with and I think we compliment each other nicely."
With offense at a premium due to weather conditions that included snow and sleet falling in Starkville Saturday afternoon, the top of the of MSU order (junior Adam Frazier and junior C.T. Bradford) combined to go 5 of 8 at the plate with two runs scored.
The 10 runs scored Friday night marked the fourth time that MSU has scored double digits this season, a figure that was only reached five times by the offense in 2012 when the Bulldogs were ranked near the bottom of the SEC in nearly every hitting category.
The Bulldogs scored seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings off St. Joseph's pitchers Jack Stover (0-1) and Matt Haskins to ensure the victory. The Hawks came into Starkville hitting just .237 as a team and had just two hits from their starting lineup Friday night.
MSU is one of nine undefeated teams left in college baseball that started their season on Feb. 15. The Bulldogs are scheduled to put that streak on the line in a 1 p.m. doubleheader today, as senior right-hander Kendall Graveman and sophomore righty Will Cox are scheduled to be on the mound for MSU.