LUBBOCK, Texas – Arguably the most dominant pitcher in college baseball this season, Mississippi State redshirt-junior Ethan Small was named the College Baseball Foundation National Pitcher of the Year, becoming the first Diamond Dawg to win the award in program history.
The award has been handed out since 2009 and the College Baseball Foundation adds Small to a list that includes Stephen Strasburg (2009), Trevor Bauer (2011), Aaron Nola (2014) and Carson Fulmer (2015).
Small becomes just the second pitcher from Mississippi State to win a national pitcher of the year award, with Chris Stratton being named the Perfect Game National Pitcher of the Year in 2012. Small is the second State student-athlete to earn a national player of the year honor this season, as freshman JT Ginn was named National Freshman of the Year by Perfect Game on June 10.
With the national pitcher of the year honor, Small joins a select group of MSU student-athletes that have won a national “of the year” award. He joins Ginn, Stratton, Golden Spikes Award winner Will Clark (1985), and Johnny Bench Award (national catcher of the year) winner Ed Easley (2007).
The left-handed pitcher has already earned first-team All-America laurels from Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Small is the first Diamond Dawg to garner first-team All-America accolades since Jacob Lindgren did so from Baseball America and Perfect Game in 2014.
Small joined Stratton as the only two SEC Pitcher of the Year winners in program history, with the award first handed out in 2003. The left hander also earned first-team All-SEC honors, becoming the first MSU pitcher since Dakota Hudsonin 2016 to garner a spot on the All-SEC first team.
The 15th Diamond Dawg in program history to hear his name called in the first round, Small was the fifth MSU student-athlete drafted in the first round in the last eight years, joining Brent Rooker (2017), Hudson (2016), Hunter Renfroe(2013) and Stratton (2012).
Small was the fourth MSU left-handed pitcher to be taken in the first round, with the Lexington, Tennessee native joining Paul Maholm (2003), Eric DuBose (1997) and B.J. Wallace (1992) as southpaws taken in the first round.
Small has been up to the challenge each week as the No. 1 starter for the Bulldogs, posting a 10-2 record – including a 7-1 mark in SEC play – and a 1.76 ERA. The southpaw has now allowed more than three runs in a start all season long. Overall, he has limited the opposition to two-or-fewer runs in 16 of 17 starts. He is the first MSU pitcher since Ross Mitchell (13; 2013) reached double-digits in the win column.
Against ranked opponents, Small posted a 6-2 record and 1.48 ERA in 10 starts, with Mississippi State owning a 7-3 record in those games. Two of those three losses came in one-run games, while the other loss was a two-run loss at Arkansas. In 61 innings of work versus the nation's best teams, Small has allowed just 12 runs on 27 hits. He struck out 98 and walked just 18, limiting the opposition to a .131 batting average against.
On the career charts, Small owns 310 strikeouts and is just the third Diamond Dawg in program history to reach the 300-strikeout mark for a career, joining Eric Dubose (428; 1995-07) and Jeff Brantley (364; 1982-85). His 168 strikeouts this season are No. 2 on the MSU single-season list and sit No. 6 on. The SEC's single-season charts, trailing DuBose (174; 1996) on both lists.
Small is slated to start the College World Series opener against Auburn on Sunday, June 16 at 6:30 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN2 from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The crew of Karl Ravech, Kyle Peterson, Eduardo Perez and Kris Budden will be on the call for the meeting between the SEC West Division foes.