The Commercial Appeal
Mississippi State’s Cijntje shines in his first start
STARKVILLE — When Mississippi State baseball freshman pitcher Jurrangelo Cijntje takes the field, he doesn’t skip over the foul line like many of his counterparts. Instead, he bends over, touches the line with his hand, crosses himself and trots to the mound.
It’s unconventional but it was far from the most eye-catching part of his outing Wednesday in a 14-3 win against the University of Louisiana Monroe. That’s because when Cijntje − who was introduced as a right-handed pitcher − stepped onto the mound, he picked up the ball with his left hand. And threw with it.
After a handful of warm-ups, he moved the mitt to his left hand and threw pitches from the right side.
One of baseball’s most intriguing shows finally took center stage at Dudy
Noble Field, and fans were given a treat. In four innings, Cijntje − college baseball’s lone switch pitcher − allowed no
runs and just one hit.
“It’s probably the coolest thing,” catcher Ross Highfill said postgame.
Cijntje threw 58 of his 75 pitches from the right side. The lone hit, a twoout single in the second inning, came as a right-handed pitcher. Topping out around 98 miles per hour, Cijntje collected six strikeouts from the right side.
He only threw 17 pitches as a lefthanded pitcher, topping out around 91 mph. His first two left-handed batters reached base on a walk and hit by pitch. However, the final two lined out to first and struck out.
“I just wish he could switch hands in the middle of the at-bat,” coach Chris Lemonis said. “That’s where you’d really like to see it. It’s special.”
When it comes to young players joining his program, Lemonis has said it often takes time to get adjusted to playing at Dudy Noble Field. For Cijntje, who was born in the Netherlands and raised in Curaçao before moving to Miami, that isn’t a concern.
“He’s as chilled as you’ll find in everything that he does,” Lemonis said. “Nothing has fazed him.”
For Mississippi State, in an early slate riddled with inconsistent pitching, a split midweek two-game series against ULM provides a glimpse at potential moves down the road.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Bradley Loftin threw four innings Tuesday with no earned runs allowed. With Saturday starter KC Hunt taking the mound for a relief appearance Wednesday, a move in the weekend rotation could be coming.
If Cade Smith remains the Friday starter with Landon Gartman moving to Saturday, Loftin could take the open Sunday slot on normal rest.