By Matt Stevens, [email protected]
August 4, 2011 11:34:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- One phone call is all it took for Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen to be assured each of his three drafted high school signees would arrive on campus this month.
MSU signee Jacob Lindgren, a left-handed pitcher from St. Stanislaus High School, confirmed in a text response Wednesday afternoon he would be "coming to college" instead of taking a contract offer from Major League Baseball''s Chicago Cubs.
Lindgren called Cohen late last week while MSU''s third-year coach was out of town recruiting and watching his current players in the Cape Cod League.
Chicago selected the Bay St. Louis native in the 12th round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft, but he has rejected their attempts to sign him to a professional contract and will enroll at MSU when classes start Aug. 17.
"We''re extremely excited about having all our recruits on campus, but the thought of having all three drafted high school players show up at our program is a special thing for Mississippi State," Cohen said.
As a senior, Lindgren was 8-0 with a 1.09 ERA and 128 strikeouts. He also hit .470 and had five home runs, 20 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases.
MLB rules give organizations until Aug. 15 to sign their draft picks before they lose their rights. Once the player begins playing college baseball, he is unable to apply for the draft again until after his third season is completed.
"Those 12 days can''t get here soon enough for me and my coaching staff, I can promise you that," Cohen said. "We feel good about all three showing up on campus, but we will sweat it out until that deadline passes."
The 6-foot, 180-pound southpaw went 6-2 with a staff-leading 1.45 ERA as a junior on the Rockachaw''s 2010 Class 4A state championship team. He had 69 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings and held opponents to a .141 batting average.
Lindgren and right-handed pitcher Brandon Woodruff and infielder Nick Flair declined professional offers after being drafted to honor their signed commitments to MSU.
Woodruff, who was selected by the Texas Rangers in the fifth round, turned down what he said was "over $400,000" to play at least three years in Starkville.
"I called coach Cohen and kind of played with him a little bit. I knew he would be excited, so I told him I''d talked with Texas and paused before saying, ''I''m not signing, so I guess you''ll have to put up with me for at least 3 years''," Woodruff said July 18. "He told me I just made his day, and that was a great moment."
Flair, a high school All-American, hit .619, with 12 home runs, 62 RBIs, 18 doubles, and three triples while leading Belle Chasse (La.) High School to a District 8-4A championship. The Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the 26th round in June.
MSU is expected to have a 10-member recruiting class when practice begins in October.
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