By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – With a near-record crowd cheering him on, Jacob Lindgren showed everyone that he’s back to form.
In his longest career outing, the sophomore hurled eight shutout innings as No. 16 Mississippi State defeated Auburn, 6-0, to clinch the series in front of 14,562 at Dudy Noble Field.
That’s the second-largest crowd in MSU history, and the fans gave Lindgren (4-1) a standing ovation when he exited after yielding a leadoff single in the ninth.
“It feels good to get out here and pitch in front of all these fans,” Lindgren said. “We’ve got some of the best fans in the nation, and I’m just happy to pitch for Mississippi State.”
The left-hander has had to battle back from elbow soreness and then a twisted ankle in recent weeks, but he had everything working Saturday. Lindgren allowed five hits, struck out 11 and walked two.
“That’s SEC-caliber stuff right there,” catcher Nick Ammirati said. “He really had his slider going.”
Lindgren got early run support, as MSU (32-10, 10-8 SEC) posted five runs over the first three innings. Ammirati’s two-run single to right field highlighted a three-run third and was one of two hits for the senior, who was 6 of 11 on the weekend.
“(Jacob Lindgren) did an outstanding job. When you get deep into a count, his slider was pretty good,” Auburn coach John Pawlowski said.
Ammirati has been handling full-time catching duties with Mitch Slauter out injured, and he has made the most of it. Ammirati is hitting .321 on the year, and coach John Cohen praised his work behind the plate.
“Losing Slauter hurt our club,” Cohen said, “but that’s when you find out about the character of others, and certainly Ammo, you can’t say enough about the heart and character of somebody like that who competes the way he did today.”
Auburn (24-16, 6-12), which had collected 18 hits over the first two games of the series, had six Saturday. The Tigers were 0 of 6 with runners in scoring position.
MSU is back in action Tuesday at Memphis, then travels to No. 2 Vanderbilt for a weekend series.