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College | Story | 12/30/2021

Year In Review: College

Vincent Cervino     
Photo: Mississippi State baseball (Mississippi State Athletics)
Year In Review: PG Events | High School | Draft

Mississippi State Finishes the Job
 
The Bulldogs downed perennial powerhouse Vanderbilt in three games to capture their first College World Series title in program history. Head Coach Chris Lemonis has made an immediate impact in Starkville and World Series hero Will Bednar took home MVP honors after an impressive run that saw him toss six shutout innings in the decisive Game 3. Mississippi State heads into 2022 as one of the top programs in the country, as this title could be the first of many this decade.
 
COVID Troubles Plague World Series
 
COVID has been an everlasting presence in all of our lives since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, and unfortunately the virus reared its ugly head on the biggest stage of college baseball. After an outbreak, NC State was disqualified for their final games in the CWS Semifinals against Vanderbilt. It’s been a trying past couple of years and though the season was able to finish in 2021, NC State’s disqualification left fans with a sour feeling in their mouths.
 
Henry Davis First College Player Selected in MLB Draft
 
Louisville’s Henry Davis was selected No. 1 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2021 MLB Draft following a monster season for the New York native. Davis’ consistency across the season was unmatched, given his penchant for loud contact along with a howitzer of an arm behind the plate. Davis makes meaningful contact to all fields with the underlying batted ball data to suggest big future power, all while playing one of the most premium positions on the diamond.
 
Kevin Kopps Takes Home Golden Spikes
 
In a dream season, Arkansas redshirt junior Kevin Kopps took home the Golden Spikes after being the most dominant pitcher in college baseball. Kopps had a long journey to get to this spot, including multiple injuries, and in his age 24 season he was unhittable for the majority of the year. Kopps had one of the most filthy sliders in the sport and finished with a 0.90 ERA across 89 2/3 innings pitched with 131 strikeouts to 18 walks; he was later selected in the third round of the MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres.
 
Kumar Rocker, Jud Fabian Selected but don’t Sign in MLB Draft
 
Two of the SEC’s biggest stars, Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker and Florida’s Jud Fabian, went unsigned in the top-five rounds of the MLB Draft, as both prospects could have very different paths moving forward. Rocker was arguably the face of the sport and served as the Friday night arm for Vanderbilt, though he did not sign after being selected by the Mets with the No. 10 overall pick. Rumors speculated about the medical of Rocker, and he’s not expected to return to Vanderbilt. Fabian could not agree with the Red Sox in the second round but, unlike Rocker, will return to Gainesville in 2022, giving the Gators a huge power boost next season.
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