June 23, 2018 11:42:11 PM
OMAHA, Neb. -- After a run to the precipice of the College World Series Championship Series, the Mississippi State baseball team will lose one key member of the 2018 squad, and it could lose two more.
Starting pitcher Konnor Pilkington told The Dispatch he is going to leave MSU after his junior season. The Chicago White Sox selected Pilkington, a left-hander, in the third round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft on June 5.
Starting pitcher Ethan Small and second baseman Hunter Stovall told The Dispatch they haven't made their final decisions. The Minnesota Twins selected Small in the 26th round, while the Colorado Rockies chose Stovall in the 21st round.
"I'm thankful for the guys, the coaches, the support staff, the whole thing," Pilkington said following MSU's 5-2 loss to Oregon State that ended the Bulldogs' season. "They showed a lot of fight this year. These memories last forever."
Pilkington was 3-6 with a 4.47 earned run average in 18 games, all starts, this season. He began the season as the Bulldogs' No. 1 option on the weekend, but Small took that role and closed the season as the team's primary starting pitcher on Friday nights.
Pilkington allowed 106 hits in 102 2/3 innings. He walked 33 and struck out 107, which was second on the team to Small.
Pilkington earned his first victory since April 7 in MSU's 12-2 victory against North Carolina at the College World Series. He went six innings and allowed two runs. He walked two and struck out four.
Stovall and Small have until the July 6 signing deadline to make their decisions.
"It's definitely a sour taste in my mouth. It kind of makes me want to come back, I'm not going to lie," said Small, who started Saturday and took the loss to Oregon State. Small, a redshirt sophomore left-hander, added he and his family haven't had a lot of discussion about his future. "We'll talk about. I'll see what they have and we'll go from there.
"If I knew, I would tell you. I just don't know right now."
Small (5-4) allowed seven hits and five runs against Oregon State on Saturday. He walked one and struck out five. All of the runs came with two outs in the third inning.
Stovall went 0-for-4 with a strikeout Saturday. He entered the game hitting .326, which was second on the team to Jake Mangum.
The New York Mets selected Mangum, a junior center fielder, in the 32nd round, but he said he plans to return to MSU for his senior season.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson
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