Starkville Daily News

Cijntje gives Bulldogs good start on mound, offense explodes


Mississipp­i State has been looking for things to swing its way on the baseball diamond and the last week has seen some positives for the program.

This weekend got off to a great start for the Bulldogs hosting Lipscomb as freshman Jurrangelo Cijntje held the Bison down and the offense exploded for an inning to pull away and get the 8-2 win.

It was yet again not the perfect outing for an MSU pitcher, but it was all that was needed. The talented ambidextro­us pitcher Cijntje walked five batters and hit two more in the game, but Lipscomb could never knock him around. The Bison managed just one hit against him and the only run came in the first inning on a sacrifice fly and Cijntje was never hurt beyond that.

“I didn't have my best command of my fastball like

I usually do and I'm a little bit sick too,” Cijntje said. “I'm trying to work on everything that I can to try and help my team win. I started feeling more comfortabl­e and I could throw my breaking ball for strikes. I was feeling all of my pitches in the later innings.”

The freshman finished with a career high in innings (six) and strikeouts (eight). Starkville Academy freshman Evan Siary came in behind him and pounded the strike zone for the most part pitching the final three innings scattering three hits, one unearned run with no walks and three strikeouts.

State's offense threatened early in the game, but it took a couple of innings to break through. After leaving three stranded in the first two frames, the Bulldogs loaded the bases against lefty Micha

Dunkleberg­er with a single and back-to-back hit batters. Ross Highfill nearly hit a grand slam to left field, but the ball off the wall was relegated to a single and two runs scored making it 3-1in favor of MSU.

Hunter Hines followed that up with a double that scored two more and it was a 5-1.

“I think they competed in and out of the strike zone,” State coach Chris Lemonis said about the Bison. “Get the walk, get the HBP. Even Ross Highfill's at-bat, he lays off the low change ups. For a young kid, in a big game, he got the good pitch to hit. That's the key. A lot of our big innings have started with a walk or an HBP or making someone make a play, then we get the big hit. It's what good offenses do.”

The Bulldogs got another run in the sixth and Hines hit a two-run home run in the seventh to push the lead out to 8-1.

Hines looks to be coming out of a little bit of a slump. After hitting a monster home run for MSU on Tuesday night, Hines was 3-for-4 with four RBI, two doubles and a home run.

“I'm not normally a six-hole guy, but I have great players around me and if I'm not doing the job, I know other people on our team can,” Hines said. “We're swinging it well right now. We're playing good baseball right now. We're not making many errors, we're hitting the ball really good, our pitching staff is doing great. I think as kind of a younger team, it took us a little time to get used to playing each other.”

The Bulldogs had nine hits in the game with three doubles as Colton Ledbetter also recorded three hits in the win and Lane Forsythe was 2-for4 with a double. Forsythe had just three hits in the first 14 games last year but has been a staple for MSU in the lineup this year and had his third multi-hit game of the season and his 14th hit overall at the eight-hole in the lineup.

With one victory under their belt, the Bulldogs try to get a quick weekend sweep today. Due to incoming weather on Sunday, the teams will play a double-header beginning at 1 p.m. MSU will start righthande­d pitcher Landon Gartman in the first game between the two teams, but it's unknown who will be the game three starter at this point.

The game two starter was left to be determined coming into the weekend before Lemonis decided to pitch Gartman first on Saturday.

“I don't like doublehead­ers,” Lemonis said. “Most coaches don't like them. Doublehead­ers are cool here because it's long days at the Dude. You can be out here a long time. We've played well in doublehead­ers. The scouting part is hard, (and) getting ready for their arms. They have some good arms left to throw.”

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