Mississippi State’s MacLeod Named to Golden Spikes Award Preseason List

Published 7:00 am Sunday, February 21, 2021

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State baseball left-handed pitcher Christian MacLeod added another preseason accolade to his resume, as USA Baseball announced the third-year freshman as part of the 55-player preseason list for the Golden Spikes Award.

The Diamond Dawgs have had at least one student-athlete on the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list for five straight seasons: Justin Foscue (2020), JT Ginn (2020), Jake Mangum (2017-19), Konnor Pilkington (2018). Most recently, Ethan Small and Mangum were tabbed as semifinalists for the award in 2019, and Dakota Hudson (2016) was a semifinalist in 2016. Brent Rooker (2017) joined Will Clark (1985) and Rafael Palmeiro (1984) as the only finalists in program history.

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In 1985, Clark claimed the Golden Spikes Award after he hit .420 with 77 RBIs and 75 runs scored. He piled up 46 extra base hits – including 25 home runs – and helped MSU reach the College World Series. Clark walked 58 times in 65 games played to account for a .538 on-base percentage. His .853 slugging percentage from 1985 is No. 2 on the single season charts, behind Palmeiro’s .886 slugging mark in 1984.

MacLeod has already garnered Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (second team), D1Baseball (third team) and Perfect Game (third team) preseason All-America honors. He is also among the Baseball America Top 100 MLB Draft Prospect (No. 23), MLB Pipeline Top 100 MLB Draft Prospect (No. 40) and D1Baseball Top 100 Collegiate MLB Draft Prospects (No. 26).

In 2020, MacLeod became the first Mississippi State freshman to earn an All-America nod since Jake Mangum in 2016 and led all Power 5 freshman in victories. He tied for the most strikeouts among Power 5 freshmen in 2020 and ranked among the top 50 nationally in hits allowed per nine innings (25th; 3.86), WHIP (32nd; 0.71) and ERA (41st; 0.86).

MacLeod had an impressive collegiate debut with 11 strikeouts on February 15 versus Wright State, marking the most strikeouts in a freshman collegiate debut in MSU history. A 12-strikeout effort versus Quinnipiac made him the only freshman in the NCAA with multiple double-digit strikeout games in 2020. His two double-digit strikeout games equal Paul Maholm (2001) and Eric DuBose (1995) for the most by a rookie in MSU history.

His redshirt-freshman season featured a 12-4 record prior to the abrupt end due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which included a pair victories over No. 2 Texas Tech, along with two wins over perineal power Oregon State at Dudy Noble Field. The Diamond Dawgs ended 2020 ranked No. 6 nationally per Collegiate Baseball.

The 2020 and 2019 campaigns ended with MSU pitcher earning National Freshman of the Year accolades, as Ginn and MacLeod each brought home the honor from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. The Diamond Dawgs are coming off of back-to-back trips to the College World Series in 2018 and 2019 and a share of the 2019 SEC West Division crown.