STARKVILLE — Mississippi State baseball is headed to its second-straight College World Series after downing Stanford in Sunday night’s Game 2 of the Starkville Super Regional.
On a night that was marked by magic from the MSU senior class in the late stages of the 8-1 victory, questions remained about injuries to two Bulldog pitchers.
After being pulled from his start against Southern University in just three innings for shoulder discomfort in the regionals, freshman starting pitcher JT Ginn has been closely monitored for the past week.
MSU coach Chris Lemonis bumped Ginn’s normal No. 2 starting slot back a day in favor of senior Peyton Plumlee Sunday night against the Cardinal.
Lemonis said postgame Ginn would have pitched in a decisive Game 3 Monday if it had been necessary.
Also on the injury front, junior reliever Jack Eagan is reportedly in stable condition after suffering a non-athletic injury when he collapsed in the MSU dugout during Saturday’s game. Eagan was rushed to a local hospital where his parents joined him.
MSU Athletics has given few details on the situation, though Eagan tweeted Sunday afternoon that he had been cleared from the hospital.
Eagan’s status for Omaha remains uncertain.
Bulldogs to the pros
While the focus at present is on MSU’s latest CWS run, several Bulldogs and commits have decided their professional fates in the past few days.
Junior relief pitcher Colby White confirmed to The Dispatch last week that he will forego his final year of eligibility to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Redshirt junior starting pitcher Ethan Small, a first-round selection by the Milwaukee Brewers, will also depart early.
Draft-eligible sophomore first baseman Tanner Allen will return to MSU per a source close to the situation. Allen was selected in the 32nd round by the Colorado Rockies.
In the prep ranks, MSU signees Ethan Hearn (catcher), Jake Randa (outfielder) and Jared Johnson (pitcher) are all expected to sign professional contracts with their respective clubs.
The lone holdout is outfielder Andre Tarver, taken in the 15th round by the San Diego Padres. Lemonis said that the coaching staff has been in contact with him regarding a decision.
Small (first team), senior Jake Mangum (second team) and sophomore Justin Foscue (third team) were named All-Americans by Baseball America Monday afternoon.
The SEC Pitcher of the Year, Small is 10-2 with a 1.76 ERA in 17 starts and 102 innings this season. He currently leads the nation in strikeouts with 168.
Mangum will close his MSU career as the SEC’s all-time hits leader and he currently sits second nationally in the category this season.
Foscue has been a wildly productive slugger in his second campaign in Starkville. The sophomore boasts career-highs in batting average (.338), runs scored (65), doubles (22), home runs (14), hits (89) and RBIs (59).
MSU will open its College World Series run against Auburn at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. The game will air on ESPN2.
Ben Portnoy reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @bportnoy15.