31 Mar

the right stuff

Facing a power-packed lineup in enemy territory, a day after his team blew a late lead and lost, Jurrangelo Cijntje sizzled on Saturday. The Mississippi State sophomore threw seven commanding innings against Florida — a consensus top 10 team — in leading the Bulldogs to a resounding 12-2 victory. That’s what an ace does. “I was just trying to give my team the chance to win,” Cijntje said in a 247sports.com story. “These guys deserve it after an awful loss yesterday. We needed that today.” MSU improved to 19-9 and 4-4 in the SEC. Florida is 15-11, 5-3. The Bulldogs belted five homers — two each by Dakota Jordan and Connor Hujsak — but the performance by Cijntje stole the show. The Netherlands native, who played high school ball in Florida, had family members in the crowd at Condron Ballpark, and they watched him hold the Gators to two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. Cijntje arrived at State last year with the fanfare of being a switch-pitcher. He had some tough times in the rugged SEC, finishing 3-5 with an 8.10 ERA overall. He has turned things around in 2024, currently sitting at 5-1 with a 3.43 in seven starts. He has punched out 53 in 39 1/3 innings. Clearly, his stuff plays. The Bulldogs’ pitching overall has been better this season under new pitching coach Justin Parker. The staff ERA is 4.16, fifth in the SEC. It was an ugly 7.01 in 2023, and no Bulldogs fan need be reminded that last year’s team went 27-26 and 9-21 in the league.

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