By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
HOOVER, Ala. – After cruising cleanly through the first inning, it seemed Jacob Lindgren had forgotten his previous outing against Vanderbilt. But the Commodores soon gave him a brutal reminder on Saturday.
The No. 1 team in the country scored seven times in the second inning en route to a 16-8 victory over No. 16 Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament semifinals at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. That exacted some revenge for Vandy (51-8), which lost to MSU (43-17) in last year’s title game.
The Commodores, who swept a three-game series from MSU in the regular season, will face No. 2 LSU in today’s championship game at 3:30 p.m.
Lindgren (4-3), the MSU starter, was charged with six runs – three earned – and failed to record an out in the second before getting pulled. In two starts against Vanderbilt this season, the sophomore left-hander has allowed 11 runs – eight earned – in 12⁄3 innings.
An error by shortstop Adam Frazier and a hit-by-pitch helped set up Vandy’s big inning.
“We were in the strike zone, we were attacking the zone, and then Jacob stopped attacking the zone right after that error happened,” MSU coach John Cohen said.
Vanderbilt banged out 19 hits, eight more than the previous high given up by MSU’s pitching staff this season. Zander Wiel had three hits and three RBIs, as did Conrad Gregor.
“We took advantage of a couple of miscues early, scored some runs and kept applying pressure,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said.
The Bulldogs started this tournament 3-0 and were rewarded with a day off Friday, while Vanderbilt had to come out of the loser’s bracket. The Commodores got six innings out of starting pitcher T.J. Pecoraro (4-1), who gave up seven runs on 10 hits and a walk.
MSU tried to rally, scoring once in the third and three times in the fourth to cut it to 8-4. But Vanderbilt answered with five more runs in the fifth.
State finished with 14 hits, led by Hunter Renfroe’s three hits and two RBIs.