STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State’s junior pitching duo of right-hander Jonathan Holder and left-hander Ross Mitchell was named to the 2014 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division I Preseason All-America Team, the organization announced Wednesday. The preseason honors for this upcoming spring came six months after both were named 2013 NCBWA All-Americans.
“What an honor for Jonathan and Ross to be recognized for their individual accomplishments in 2013,” said Butch Thompson, one of two pitching coaches in the country to finish 2013 with a staff in the top-15 in ERA, strikeouts per nine innings and fewest walks allowed per nine innings. “Both of these special players would be the first to acknowledge their teammates, coaches and MSU for the experiences and opportunities during their college careers.”
Holder earned first-team honors after saving a school-record 21 games in 2013, ranking third in the country and tying the 11-year Southeastern Conference record held by Blake Taylor of South Carolina. The Gulfport, Miss., native enters his third campaign for the Maroon and White with 30 career saves, 14 shy of tying Carolina pitcher Matt Price’s SEC record set from 2009-12. This past spring, the flamethrower struck out 90 batters in 54 2/3 innings, recording a 1.65 ERA to go along with a flawless 2-0 record.
Mitchell collected second-team honors after becoming the only pitcher in the country this past spring to rack up 13 or more wins without a single loss. The 13 wins tied Jeff Brantley (1984) for fifth-most in a single season in school history, while his unblemished 13-0 record made him the second pitcher in the history of MSU (Frank Montgomery, 1962) to go undefeated in a season with a minimum of 10 decisions. Finishing with a 1.53 ERA, the southpaw strangled hitters to the tune of a .214 batting average at the plate.
“They have trained extremely hard since Omaha in preparation for the 2014 season,” Thompson added. “It’s a tremendous honor for our conference and program to be recognized by such a prestigious organization as the NCBWA.”
Holder and Mitchell open up their junior campaign on Friday, Feb. 14, 2013, as the Bulldogs begin their 124th season with a 4 p.m. lid-lifter vs. Hofstra. For more information on the All-America duo, follow the team on social media by searching for “HailStateBB” on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. All-Access coverage of the program can also be found on FanCred.