The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Several Bulldogs excel in summer league play

Jacob Follin

The Mississippi State baseball team was  recently named the Most Valuable Program by the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball.

After a disappointing season in 2015, the  Mississippi State baseball team is expected to be great early and  is gaining recognition as one of the nation’s best teams. After jumping out to a 13-0 record to start the 2015 season, MSU slowly collapsed. They then plummeted in the rankings and continued to lose games. At the end of the season, they finished with a 24-30 record and 8-22 in conference play. 

Although the losing record last season, the Bulldogs enter this season ranked 15th in the Division1 baseball polls. Mississippi State is the only team in the top 25 rankings who had a losing record last season. 

The Bulldogs have a tough road ahead of them though, with six other SEC teams ranked in the top 25, and MSU has seven teams on their schedule that are currently ranked top 14 of the rankings and three out of the top five teams.

One reason the Bulldogs are expected to have a better season is the returning position players. The three leading hitters from last season, Jacob Robson, Cody Brown and Luke Reynolds are all coming back for another season at Dudy Noble.

 The middle infield is also returning, which consists of John Holland who set the record of highest fielding percentage by a second baseman in school history. The shortstop, Ryan Gridley, is returning after taking home the All-SEC freshman award at shortstop.

On the pitching staff, the Bulldogs are led by Dakota Hudson who was tabbed preseason All American by Perfect Game. He had a stellar summer league season with a 1.69 ERA (Earned Run Average) and 41 strikeouts, which just so happened to lead the league in both categories. 

Hudson was named one of the top 40 college prospects of the season after his great performance over the summer and he is not the only threat on the mound this season. Zac Houston dominated this summer with a 1.68 ERA and was also named a top 70 college prospect this season.

The main reason for MSU being ranked so high this season was the performance by the entire squad in the summer league. Mississippi State was named NACSB Most Valuable Program out of 845 programs. 

Mississippi State sent 21 players from this season’s roster, including 13 position players and eight pitchers. With the 13 hitters combined, they had a .314 batting average with 241 RBIs, 86 doubles, 13 triples, and 31 home runs.

 The eight pitchers combined to have a 2.13 ERA in 292 innings with 251 strikeouts and allowed a 1.15 WHIP. Even more ridiculous than that, 21 MSU pitchers touched at least 90 MPH on the radar gun in the fall scrimmages. 

Out of the 21 members of the MSU squad, 11 team members were elected All-stars and two members even won MVP in their league. The two MVPs were Tanner Poole and Brent Rooker. 

Rooker, who has been named a team captain alongside Hudson and Robson, ended the summer league with 59 hits, 10 home runs, and 33 runs scored. He has been tabbed as a top 20 college prospect.

Robson, Reynolds and Cole Gordon also had fantastic summer leagues, with all three players playing in their all star games. Gordon finished the league with a .400 batting average and seven home runs while Reynolds hit .344 with 29 runs scored and 12 doubles.

The Bulldogs have bright expectations this season as they open up the season  on Feb. 19 against Florida Atlantic. 

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Several Bulldogs excel in summer league play