STARKVILLE — Ron Polk gave Grant Hogue an opportunity to play baseball at Mississippi State.
Hogue built on that chance this season for first-year coach John Cohen.
After transferring from Pearl River Community College and having two productive seasons at MSU, Hogue will take his talents to the next level.
The Houston Astros selected Hogue in the 35th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Thursday.
Hogue, a senior outfielder from Hattiesburg, considers the chance to play professional baseball a blessing.
“It was a dream to play college baseball, and was I hoping to get a chance after that,” Hogue said. “I feel fortunate.”
The Cincinnati Reds picked MSU junior right-hander Ricky Bowen in the 43rd round.
Hogue and Bowen join junior first baseman Connor Powers, who went to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round Wednesday.
Hogue is expected to meet today at his home with the Astros to discuss terms. He doesn”t anticipate the negotiations to last long.
“Hopefully, they will tell me where I go from there within the next few days,” Hogue said.
Known for his baserunning ability, Hogue was third in the Southeastern Conference this season with 29 stolen bases, the second-best single-season mark in school history. His 54 career stolen bases are tied for fourth in school history.
“The only reason I played at Mississippi State was because of coach Polk,” Hogue said. “I thank him and coach Cohen. I”m looking forward to doing that at the next level.”
Cincinnati drafted Bowen in the 46th round of the 2008 draft.
After Bowen struggling to a 2-3 record and 8.44 ERA for this season, the Reds encouraged him prior to the draft.
“They called and told me not to worry because they were going to take me no matter what, so I appreciated that vote of confidence from them,” Bowen said. “It”s good to know there is still an opportunity out there. Hopefully, I will do well this summer and all things line up. After not having the success I hoped to have last year, it was good that someone still wants to take a chance on me and sees something in me.”
Bowen is spending his summer with the Bourne, Mass., team in the Cape Cod League.
The season hasn”t started, but Bowen is happy with the way he has thrown in intrasquad games.
Bowen was 10-11 with a 6.55 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 53 appearances (20 starts) in three seasons at MSU.
Bowen said it”s not out of the question that he will return to MSU for his senior season to add to those numbers.
“I”m still considering coming back, but a lot of things have to fall into place for it to work out,” Bowen said. “We”ll see what happens.”
The Bulldogs also had another signee drafted on the third day.
Junior college outfielder Jason Shepherd, of Blinn (Texas) College, was picked in the 44th round by the Reds after outfielder Runey Davis (12th round) and pitcher C.C. Watson (29th round) were selected Wednesday.