STARKVILLE, Miss. (WLBT) - The national recognition continues to roll in for Mississippi State baseball student-athletes senior Jake Mangum and redshirt-junior Ethan Small as the duo was added to the second national player of the year semifinalists ledger, this time for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s Dick Howser Trophy.
Mangum and Small add to Mississippi State’s recent history with the award, giving the Diamond Dawgs six student-athletes that have earned semifinalist distinction; Hunter Renfroe (2013), Dakota Hudson (2016), Brent Rooker (2017) and Chris Stratton (2012).
The 2019 Dick Howser Trophy, presented by The Game Headware, in balloting by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in conjunction with the Dick Howser Trophy Committee and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. The award is in its 33rd year honoring the top player in collegiate baseball and is based on two rounds of national voting.
The finalists will be announced on Thursday, June 6. The 2019 award will be presented at TD Ameritrade Stadium in downtown Omaha, the home of the College World Series for the eighth year.
The Dick Howser Trophy, given in memory of the former Florida State University All-America shortstop and major league player and manager, who died of brain cancer in 1987, is regarded by many as college baseball's most prestigious award. Criteria for consideration of the trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral character and courage, qualities that were exemplified by Dick Howser's life.
Mangum and Small were announced as two of the 25 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award, which is awarded to the national amateur player of the year by USA Baseball. They are also two of the five finalists for the C Spire Ferris Trophy, which honors the best baseball student-athlete in the state of Mississippi.
Mangum is working on one of the finest seasons in MSU history to cap a historic career for the Maroon and White. Currently, he is No. 2 nationally with 93 hits, while he sits among the top 25 in the NCAA in batting average (21st; .392), doubles (13th; 20), runs scored (22nd; 60) and toughest to strike out (6th; 14.8).
With 93 hits on the season, Mangum has moved his career total to 368 hits over his 248 games played, which make him the Mississippi State and Southeastern Conference hits leader. In 2019, the Jackson, Mississippi native passed Jeffery Rae (335; 2004-07) for the MSU record and LSU’s Eddy Furniss (352; 1995-97) for the SEC career record. He currently ranks tied for No. 7 on the NCAA’s all-time list with 368 career hits, equaling the total of Stanford’s John Gall (1997-2000), and is on pace to become the first MSU baseball student-athlete to post multiple 100-hit seasons.
Small is enjoying his best season on the mound for Mississippi State, as he owns a 7-1 record and 1.73 ERA in 13 starts. His 132 strikeouts rank No. 2 nationally and are No. 6 on the MSU single-season list. His ERA ranks No. 12 nationally, while his 6.95 strikeout-to-walk ratio is No. 11 among Division I pitchers. The left-hander owns a 0.78 WHIP (Walks and hits per innings pitched), which sits No. 2 in the NCAA.
On MSU’s career charts, Small has pushed his name into the top 10 on the strikeouts list and is one of just six MSU pitchers to post multiple 100-plus strikeout seasons. With 274 career strikeouts, the Lexington, Tennessee native is No. 4 all-time and just 26 shy of becoming the third pitcher in school history to eclipse the 300-strikeout mark (Eric Dubose & Jeff Brantley).