Two specialty awards, four first-team picks highlight Mississippi State baseball’s All-SEC honorees

Small earns SEC Pitcher of the Year, Ginn tabbed conference Freshman of the Year
Published: May. 20, 2019 at 4:48 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WLBT) - After winning 45 regular season games and claiming a share of the Southeastern Conference Western Division title, the Mississippi State baseball program took home an unprecedented haul from the conference office on Monday (May 20) as redshirt-junior Ethan Small was tabbed SEC Pitcher of the Year and rookie JT Ginn earned SEC Freshman of the Year, to go along with four first-team All-SEC selections.

Small was joined on the All-SEC first team by senior centerfielder Jake Mangum, sophomore first baseman Tanner Allen and sophomore second baseman Justin Foscue. Mangum was also named to the SEC’s All-Defensive Team, while Ginn earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team, as well.

The two specialty awards mark the first time in program history that a Bulldog team earned multiple conference specialty awards in one season, as both Ginn and Small are the second MSU student-athlete to win their respective awards.

Small joins Chris Stratton (2012) as the only SEC Pitcher of the Year winners in program history, with the award first handed out in 2003. The first SEC Freshman of the Year award was given out in 2000, with Ginn and Mangum (2016) the only Diamond Dawgs to garner the honor.

MSU placed at least one student-athlete on the All-SEC first team for the fourth-straight season, which is the longest active streak in the conference. The four first-team honorees are tied for the fourth-most in program history, behind the five honorees from the 1949, 1971 and 1977 teams. The four first-team honors are the most since the 2016 team also had four.

Small enjoyed one of the most dominant seasons on the mound in program history to earn SEC Pitcher of the Year and a spot on the All-SEC first team. He worked 83 innings and finished the year with an 8-1 record. A conference-high-tying seven of those wins came in conference play. His 139 strikeouts were the most in the SEC and ranked No. 2 nationally in the regular season.

His 1.84 ERA was third in the SEC, while he limited the opposition to just a .158 batting average against on the year. Small issued only 28 free base runners, walking 22 and hitting six. In his 83 innings of work, the left-hander allowed 45 hits and 19 runs, only 17 earned.

Ginn tied the Mississippi State freshman record for pitching victories during the 2019 campaign, as he posted an 8-3 overall mark. His eight victories equal the total by Paul Maholm (2001). He struck out 95 batters in 75.0 innings of work to rank No. 10 in the conference. His 3.12 ERA, along with his.217 batting average against both ranked among the top-15 in the conference.

In the 75 innings of work on the mound, Ginn walked just 16 batters and of his 62 hits allowed, only 11 went for extra bases all season. He also limited the opponent to just 62 hits and 29 runs, just 26 earned.

Enjoying one of the storied careers in Southeastern Conference history, Mangum capped his final trek through the regular season with his third first-team All-SEC selection. He becomes the first Diamond Dawg to ever earn three, first-team All-SEC honors and is the only MSU baseball student-athlete to ever garner four selections to the All-SEC team, grabbing second-team honors as a sophomore.

Mangum paced the conference in hits (95), ranked second in batting average (.375) and stolen bases (21), and third in runs scored (65) and doubled (20).

During the regular season, Mangum moved his name atop the Mississippi State and Southeastern Conference all-time hits charts. He passed Jeffery Rae (335; 2004-07) for the MSU record and LSU’s Eddy Furniss (352; 1995-97) for the SEC career record, moving into a tie for No. 6 on the NCAA’s all-time list with 370 career hits entering the postseason. Mangum also ranks among the top-10 in Mississippi State history in batting average, at bats, runs, doubles, triples, total bases stolen bases and games played.

Allen enjoyed a career year at the plate, while also anchoring the Bulldog infield with 56 starts at first base. He posted career-high numbers at the plate in average (.348), runs scored (51), doubles (20), home runs (6), RBIs (59) and walks (32). He ranked among the top-five in the SEC in hits, RBIs and doubles, while his .348 average was sixth highest in the conference.

Foscue had a breakout sophomore year, playing two positions on the infield during the 2019 campaign. In starts at third base and second base, the right-handed hitter boosted his batting average over 100 points during his second season and his 14 home runs are the most in a single season since Brent Rooker hit 23 in 2017. He posted career highs in average (.348), runs scored (58), doubles (21), home runs (14), hits (81), RBIs (56) and total bases (144). Overall, he ranked among the top-10 in average, slugging percentage (.618), runs scored, hits, RBIs, doubles, home runs and total bases in the conference.

Mississippi State will head to Hoover, Alabama for the Southeastern Conference Tournament this week. The fourth-seeded Diamond Dawgs will kick off their stay at the conference tournament in the final game of the day on Wednesday, May 22, facing the winner of the LSU/South Carolina game on Tuesday (May 21).

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