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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Mississippi State leaves promising season unfinished

32 days ago
Mississippi State Athletics

STARKVILLE - In a season halted by a national health pandemic just four weeks in, the Mississippi State baseball program was able to put together a bevy of highlights as a team, while also garnering a number individual accomplishments, as well.

Below are some of the news, notes, highlights and a recap of the hardware earned during the 2020 campaign. A full breakdown of the 2020 campaign, including statistics, national rankings and season bios for each student-athlete that appeared in 2020 are included in the season wrap up PDF.

News and Notes

Price Saves It

  • After piling up 14 saves during the 2017 season, senior Spencer Price missed 2018 due to injury and didn't collect a save in 2019, before claiming back-to-back saves versus Texas Tech to close out the 2020 campaign.
  • There were 1,055 days between saves for Price, who posted his final save of 2017 versus Alabama on April 20 and his next save came on March 10, 2020 against No. 2 Texas Tech.
  • He picked up his second save of the season the next night, with another three-out save over the Red Raiders.
  • The right-hander didn't allow a run of his own in eight appearances in 2020 and surrendered just one of two inherited runners on the season.
  • Price ranks tied for No. 22 on the NCAA's active career charts with his 22 saves.
  • With his two saves in 2020, Price moved from No. 10 on the career saves list into a tie for No. 7.

Mac-LOUD Debut

  • With 11 strikeouts in his collegiate debut, redshirt-freshman Christian MacLeod struck out the most batters in a debut at Mississippi State since at least 1985.
  • In week four, he fanned 12 batters to make him just the third freshman since at least 1985 with multiple 10-strikeout games in his rookie season. He joined Eric DuBose (1995) and Paul Maholm (2001).
  • Among pitchers making their collegiate debut in a start, his 11 punch outs bested John Lalor's and Will Cox's eight strikeout efforts.
  • Scott Tanksley (1993), Brandon Woodruff (2012) and Will Bednar (2020) each struck out eight in their first career starts, but each made relief appearances prior to those starts.
  • In Mississippi State history, only two freshman have struck out more batters in a game than MacLeod's 12 versus Quinnipiac. DuBose (twice) and Maholm.

Leading All Newcomers

  • Redshirt-freshman Christian MacLeod made his collegiate debut in a start on the mound against Wright State on Saturday, Feb. 15 and quickly made his mark.
  • MacLeod was the only freshman in the NCAA with multiple double-digit strikeout games in 2020 and the only Power 5 freshman to register four-or-more victories on the season.
  • His 35 strikeouts tied for the most among Power 5 freshmen on the season (Burke, Maryland; Prielipp, Alabama) and sat No. 43 in the NCAA and No. 3 in the SEC
  • His four victories finished tied for No. 2 nationally and tied for the SEC lead and his 0.86 ERA was No. 41 in the NCAA and No. 4 in the SEC.

New Kids on the Bump

  • In 2020, the freshman trio of Will Bednar, Christian MacLeod and Landon Sims piled up 81 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings of work.
  • The 81 strikeouts were the most by a trio of freshmen in the NCAA in 2020, doing so with just 18 walks.
  • MSU's NKOTB combined to post a 5-0 record and one save, while limiting opposing hitters to .134 batting average against (23-for-172).
  • Against Quinnipiac, MacLeod (12), Bednar (8) and Sims (6) combined to strike out 26 batters in 14 1/3 innings. MacLeod and Sims each collected wins, while Bednar received a no decision in his first collegiate start.

Triple 10s

  • Mississippi State has finished among the top 10 in the final polls on 16 occasions, including the abbreviated 2020 campaign.
  • Of those 16 occurrences, State has went back-to-back four times; 1970-71, 1984-85, 1989-90 and 1997-98.
  • The Maroon and White also finished 2018, 2019 and 2020 among the top 10 teams in the country to mark the first time in program history it ended three straight seasons among the top 10.

Streaking at the Plate

  • Since 2009, there have been 10 reached base streaks of 26 games or longer. That list includes Tanner Allen and Jordan Westburg who saw streaks end in 2020.
  • Westburg reached base in the final 20 games of the 2019 season and was on base in the first 10 games of 2020.
  • Allen reached base his first five appearances of 2020, adding to his 21-game streak which ended the 2019 campaign.
  • Both streaks came to an end during the Bulldogs' series at Long Beach State. Allen's ended on February 28, while Westburg's came to a halt in the series finale on March 1.

The Last Time Mississippi State...

  • Played 16 or fewer games in a season: 1954 (9-7)
  • Scored fewer than 100 runs in a season: 1974 (99)
  • Won 12 or fewer games in a season: 1961 (12-7)
  • Didn't play a conference games: 1903
  • Along those same lines, the 524 at bats are the fewest by a Diamond Dawg squad in a season since at least 1949.

NCAA Active Career Leaders

Mississippi State has a handful of student-athletes that rank among the NCAA active leaders at the end of the 2020 season, with five Bulldogs ranking among the top 50.

  • Allen, Tanner - Hits - 49th (181)
  • Allen, Tanner - RBIs - 29th (116
  • Ginn, JT - Walks Per 9 IP - 46th (2.12)
  • Ginn, JT - Strikeouts Per 9 IP - 41st (10.98)
  • Koestler, Carlisle - Games Started - 36th (34)
  • Koestler, Carlisle - Innings Pitched - 36th (197 2/3)
  • Price, Spencer - Saves - 22nd (16)
  • Self, Riley - Appearances - 12th (79)
  • Self, Riley - Relief Appearances - 9th (79)

Ellis Takes on Year 42, Honored by NCBWA

  • The 2020 season marked year No. 42 for long-time MSU radio broadcaster Jim Ellis as the play-by-play announcer for Mississippi State baseball
  • Ellis began his tenure in 1979 and is tied for the second-longest tenured broadcaster in Division I college baseball, trailing only Dave Nitz at Louisiana Tech (46 seasons). Ellis' 42 years are tied with Ole Miss' David Kellum and Southern Miss' John Cox.
  • The new Dudy Noble Field features home and visiting radio booths inside the Jim Ellis Radio Suite, named for the iconic "Voice of the Diamond Dawgs".
  • Prior to the 2020 season, Ellis was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's Wilbur Snypp Award winner. The award is given yearly for outstanding contributions to college baseball.

Awards Recap

Tanner Allen

  • Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Preseason All-America (second team)
  • D1Baseball Preseason All-America (third team)
  • NCBWA Preseason All-America (third team)
  • Perfect Game Preseason All-America (third team)
  • Preseason All-SEC (second team)

Jim Ellis

  • NCBWA Wilbur Snypp Award (outstanding contributions to college baseball)

Justin Foscue

  • MLBPipeline's Top-100 2020 MLB Draft Prospect (No. 32)
  • Baseball America Preseason All-America (second team)
  • Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Preseason All-America (second team)
  • D1Baseball Preseason All-America (second team)
  • NCBWA Preseason All-America (first team)
  • Perfect Game Preseason All-America (second team)
  • Preseason All-SEC (first team)

JT Ginn

  • MLBPipeline's Top-100 2020 MLB Draft Prospect (No. 44)
  • Baseball America Preseason All-America (first team)
  • Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Preseason All-America (second team)
  • D1Baseball Preseason All-America (second team)
  • NCBWA Preseason All-America (third team)
  • Perfect Game Preseason All-America (second team)

Josh Hatcher

  • Preseason All-SEC (second team)

Rowdey Jordan

  • Preseason All-SEC (second team)

Christian MacLeod

  • SEC Co-Freshman of the Week (Feb. 17)
  • Collegiate Baseball National Weekly Honor Roll (Feb. 17)

Spencer Price

  • SEC Pitcher of the Week (March 16)

Jordan Westburg

  • MLBPipeline's Top-100 2020 MLB Draft Prospect (No. 37)
  • Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Preseason All-America (third team)
  • Perfect Game Preseason All-America (third team)
  • Preseason All-SEC (second team)