June 8, 2013
Frazier's 6 Hits Fuel Bulldogs
By Sean Ryan
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –
Adam Frazier has done a little of everything for
Mississippi State the past three seasons. Although the junior
shortstop and leadoff man makes the Bulldogs go in the field
and at the plate, he’s been left off the all-Southeastern
Conference teams the past two years.
“He’s our fire-starter in the lineup,” right
fielder Hunter Renfroe said.
Added Bulldogs coach John Cohen: “When you get a
chance to see him perform all three years, I think he’s
Frazier turned heads and turned around pitches
all day Saturday, going 6 for 6 with two doubles, a triple, two
runs and three RBI as Mississippi State handled Virginia 11-6 in
the first game of the Charlottesville Super Regional. Frazier’s
six hits tied a school mark and helped the Bulldogs move within
one win of reaching the College World Series for the first time
“Not that I remember,” Frazier responded when
asked if he’d ever had a six-hit game. “I think I had two
five-hit games in high school.”
Frazier now has 100 hits on the season after
entering the Super Regionals ninth in the nation in hits.
Frazier and Renfroe, who went 4 for 5 with a
triple, two runs and three RBI, were in the middle of things all
day for the Bulldogs (47-18). The duo combined to 10 of the
MSU’s 20 hits – a season high against the Cavaliers (50-11) –
four runs and six RBI. The Bulldogs scored in six of nine
innings, including four innings of two or more.
Frazier, taken Friday in the sixth round of the
Major League Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, singled and scored
on Renfroe’s single, and Brett Pirtle added an RBI grounder for
a 2-0 lead in the first. Frazier doubled in the second, then
tripled in the third, scoring on Renfroe’s two-run triple as MSU
led 7-4 after four innings.
In the fifth, Frazier singled in a run and lined
a ball off the first-base-bag in the sixth for a two-run double.
Just for kicks, he lined a single to left field in his final
at-bat in the eighth inning to complete a 6-for-6 day and keep
his torrid postseason pace: In nine postseason games, including
the SEC Tournament and NCAA tourney, the left-handed hitting
Frazier is 21 for 45 (.467).
“It was as good as an offensive approach as we’ve
faced this year,” Cavaliers coach Brian O’Connor said. “They
were pretty relentless at the plate.”
O’Connor marveled at the way the Bulldogs changed
their approach with two strikes, saying they did a good job of
letting the ball get deep in the strike zone and fouling off
pitches when they needed to until getting a better pitch to hit.
“They look like the kind of ball club that [is]
not going to give outs away,” O’Connor said.
Still, Virginia gave Mississippi State some help.
The Cavaliers, who entered as the sixth-best defensive team in
the nation (.970 fielding percentage), made four errors that
resulted in six unearned runs.
A big one came in the top of the third, when with
one out and men on second and third, C.T. Bradford bunted back
to starter Brandon Waddell (6-3) on a safety squeeze. Waddell
fielded cleanly and looked to throw home to get Renfroe trying
to score, but he dropped the ball as he went to throw.
“It’s part of the game,” said Waddell, who was
touched for six hits and six runs (three earned) in 3.1 innings,
his second-shortest start of the year. “I went to throw it and
the ball slipped out of my hand.”
Another big one came in the sixth with the score
8-4. Trey Porter bounced a ball that got through Jared King at
first, which could have been the third out of the inning. The
next batter was Frazier, who bounced the ball off the bag at
first, leaving King trying to bare-hand the ball as it bounced
over his head and down the line for a 10-4 lead.
“We take pride in handling the ball better than
we did today,” O’Connor said. “We know we can’t do those things
this time of year.”
Kendall Graveman (7-5) battled through a
three-run first and worked 5.1 innings with nine hits and six
runs (four earned) before turning it over to Ross Mitchell, who
induced three double plays in 3.2 scoreless innings. One came in
the sixth, after Nate Irving and Mike Papi (1 for 4, solo HR, 2
RBI) plated runs and the Cavaliers had the bases loaded with one
out down 10-6. King grounded a ball toward center, but Frazier
ranged to his left, darted to the bag at second and threw on the
run to get the Bulldogs out of the inning.
Demarcus Henderson went 3
for 4 with two runs and an RBI, and Wes Rea contributed three
hits for MSU. Brett Pirtle added two RBI and two sterling plays
in the bottom of the ninth – the first a diving play to his left
and on the second he ranged to his right, gloved the ball and
threw a perfect strike to first on a jump-throw from behind the
Nick Howard went 2 for 4 with two runs, and Reed
Gragnani (2 for 4, run, RBI) and Joe McCarthy (2 for 2, three
walks, run) added a pair of hits for the Cavaliers.
Bulldogs coach John Cohen thought having the
Major League Draft out of the way was a good thing for his
squad. He said during batting practice Friday, players were
asking Adam Frazier if he’d heard anything yet. “Adam is a
really cool customer, someone who’s really mature,” Cohen
said. “I think he just played like a guy who was totally
Virginia’s Derek Fisher went 0 for 4 with an
RBI, but he just missed a homer when Demarcus Henderson leaped
at the wall in the third, and he hit two other balls to the
Scott Silverstein (10-1) will start for
Virginia Sunday evening, while Cohen did not name a starter.
Cohen was impressed with Virginia’s lineup,
which had a homer (Mike Papi) and double (Jared King) in
Kendall Graveman’s first four pitches. He had to confirm the
pronunciation of Papi, then said, “That guy, we’ll all know
his name soon,” adding that the Cavaliers’ leadoff man could
be playing in the Major Leagues.
MSU players were asked
about their comfort level at Davenport Field, and Hunter
Renfroe made reference to that “big wall in center field,” the
batter’s eye. He said that played a role in the Bulldogs
seeing the ball well and suggested they may hit better back at
Dudy Noble if Cohen and MSU added a big batter’s eye. Cohen
joked, “So would the other team,” to which Renfroe quickly
countered, “We outscored them today.”