#27 Mississippi State Baseball 2019 Preview

Mississippi State Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #8 SEC
 Mississippi State Logo
Mississippi State provided some of the most memorable moments of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs upset Florida State in the Tallahassee Regional before beating Oklahoma twice to reach the Super Regional. In Nashville, the Bulldogs played three great games against Vanderbilt, including an 11 inning thriller to reach the College World Series. Mississippi State was not done there. They beat Washington and North Carolina in the CWS and lost two games to eventual champions Oregon State in the semifinals. And it looked like this was a Mississippi State team that was not even going to make the tournament. Former coach Andy Cannizaro was dismissed and MSU promoted Gary Henderson to interim head coach. Many wanted Coach Henderson to stay on as head coach, but the program instead poached Coach Chris Lemonis from Indiana.
2018: 39-29, 15-15
2018 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Chris Lemonis
Key Departed Players:
Hunter Stovall, IF, .321 BA, 2 HR, 42 RBI, 10 SB
Luke Alexander, IF, .221 BA, 6 HR, 49 RBI
Konnor Pilkington, P, 4.47 ERA, 3-6 W/L, 102.2 IP, 107 SO
Jacob Billingsley, P, 5.57 ERA, 5-4 W/L, 72.2 IP, 71 SO
Key Returning Players:
Jake Mangum, OF, .351 BA, 3 HR, 33 RBI, 14 SB
Rowdey Jordan, IF/OF, .321 BA, 7 HR, 37 RBI
Elijah MacNamee, OF, .309 BA, 8 HR, 42 RBI
Tanner Allen, IF/OF, .287 BA, 5 HR, 45 RBI
Ethan Small, P, 3.20 ERA, 5-4 W/L, 101.1 IP, 122 SO
Cole Gordon, P, 4.26 ERA, 4-3 W/L, 61.1 IP, 68 SO
The Bulldogs should be strong on the mound with the return of Ethan Small. He was dominate down the stretch last year and hopes to pick up where he left off as the team’s Friday night starter. Small posted a 3.20 ERA and pitched 101.1 innings last year. The addition of first round MLB draft pick JT Ginn will add another impressive arm to the weekend rotation. He can play in the field too, but Coach Lemonis will likely utilize the freshman on the mound most of the time. At the plate, MSU returns three of their four hitters who hit over .300 last year. Jake Mangum is the most consistent hitter on the team, while Rowdey Jordan and Elijah MacNamee bring some power to the plate as well. If Mississippi State can fill in a few holes, they will get back to the NCAA Tournament. But it is also worth noting that this team barely reached the tournament in a tumultuous 2018 campaign and Coach Lemonis needs to get the best out of this group in order to compete in the difficult SEC.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament