STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – As the final regular season weekend of 2019 approaches, Mississippi State baseball student-athletes senior Jake Mangum and redshirt-junior Ethan Small added another honor to the list, as the duo was tabbed as two of the 25 semifinalists for the 2019 Golden Spikes Award, presented by USA Baseball in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation.
Mississippi State’s history with the Golden Spikes Award began in 1984, when Rafael Palmeiro was named a finalist for the award. In 1985, Will Clark produced the only Golden Spikes Award-winning season in program history.
Since the award began naming semifinalists in 2007, only three other Diamond Dawgs have been named semifinalists for the award. Dakota Hudson (2016), Brent Rooker (2017) and Chris Stratton (2012) have each earned the semifinalist distinction, with Rooker being named just the third finalist in program history, joining Clark and Palmeiro.
Fan voting, which will account for five percent of the final award process, is open from Wednesday, May 15 through Sunday, May 26. The remainder of the voting for finalists will consist of national baseball media, select professional baseball personnel, previous Golden Spikes Award winners and select USA Baseball staff.
The finalists will then be announced on Wednesday, May 29, with the winner of the 42nd Golden Spikes Award named on Friday, June 14.
Mangum and Small were announced as two of the five finalists for the C Spire Ferris Trophy, which honors the best baseball student-athlete in the state of Mississippi.
Mangum is working on one of the finest seasons in MSU history to cap a historic career for the Maroon and White. Currently, he is No. 2 nationally with 93 hits, while he sits among the top 25 in the NCAA in batting average (21st; .392), doubles (13th; 20), runs scored (22nd; 60) and toughest to strike out (6th; 14.8).
With 93 hits on the season, Mangum has moved his career total to 368 hits over his 248 games played, which make him the Mississippi State and Southeastern Conference hits leader. In 2019, the Jackson, Mississippi native passed Jeffery Rae (335; 2004-07) for the MSU record and LSU’s Eddy Furniss (352; 1995-97) for the SEC career record. He currently ranks tied for No. 7 on the NCAA’s all-time list with 368 career hits, equaling the total of Stanford’s John Gall (1997-2000), and is on pace to become the first MSU baseball student-athlete to post multiple 100-hit seasons.
Small is enjoying his best season on the mound for Mississippi State, as he owns a 7-1 record and 1.73 ERA in 13 starts. His 132 strikeouts rank No. 2 nationally and are No. 6 on the MSU single-season list. His ERA ranks No. 12 nationally, while his 6.95 strikeout-to-walk ratio is No. 11 among Division I pitchers. The left-hander owns a 0.78 WHIP (Walks and hits per innings pitched), which sits No. 2 in the NCAA.
On MSU’s career charts, Small has pushed his name into the top 10 on the strikeouts list and is one of just six MSU pitchers to post multiple 100-plus strikeout seasons. With 274 career strikeouts, the Lexington, Tennessee native is No. 4 all-time and just 26 shy of becoming the third pitcher in school history to eclipse the 300-strikeout mark (Eric Dubose & Jeff Brantley).
The final weekend of the regular season will have the Diamond Dawgs hosting South Carolina in a three-game series that begins on Thursday, May 16. The series opener on Thursday, as well as the Friday, May 17 contest will begin at 6:30 p.m., while the series finale is slated for 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. On Thursday, the program will honor its graduates and Friday evening will be Senior Night for the six Bulldog seniors.