MSU Alum and Biloxi Shuckers Pitcher Ethan Small’s not so small quest to the Bigs

In the state of Mississippi, Ethan Small is a big deal. Hailing from Hail State, he was a part of two College World Series runs with the Bulldogs.

But Small won’t be pitching for MSU, instead taking the ball for the Biloxi Shuckers in his not so small quest to the Big Leagues.

“It’s just a special thing, man. Cause only eight teams get to go every year. And to be one of those, especially for the first time, it can be a little overwhelming. You can definitely have fun with it.”  The month of June brings back a lot of good memories for Ethan Small. From his days as an ace pitcher at Mississippi State where the Bulldogs won six out of his seven post-season starts between their 2018 and 2019 runs to the College World Series. “It felt like a long time, like those two years when my class first got there – we knew what we wanted to do. We wanted to go to Omaha. Finally, did it in ’18 and then ’19 we were just an old group of guys who had been together for a while, fall for each other. And we ended up battling and getting there.”

That month of June got even better for Small who was picked 28th overall by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round of the 2019 MLB First Year Player Draft.

Whether or not he realized it at the time, somewhere on the road back from Omaha was exit 46B off I-10 eastbound to Biloxi’s MGM Park. After spending all last year perfecting his slider at the alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin due to COVID-19, Small is finally back to feeling the love in the Magnolia State and all the Maroon and White in the stands that comes with it. “Well, A, Mississippi is a great baseball state. A lot of people care about it and I know I went to a great school for that. I loved it and they love it right back, so they say where you go, we go with you.”

The 24-year-old Small has yet to disappoint on the Gulf Coast, boasting a 2.60 ERA through his first six Double-A starts with an eye-popping 46 strikeouts through 27-and-two-third innings.

The first of those home starts resulted in the first no-hitter he’s ever been a part of in his life. “That’s kind of the hard part, like you weren’t expecting it and then it happens. Because a lot of times you get so worked up for those things, you know it’s there, it’s coming, and then you lose it and it’s so disappointing. And this one was just like well, we weren’t trying to chase it and it just kind of happened, so it was really fun to enjoy that with the guys.”

Earlier last week, Small was named Double-A South Pitcher of the Week for racking up a minor-league best 19 punchouts across two scoreless starts.

If he keeps that up, the former Division I National Pitcher of the Year might just turn that road to Omaha into his very own road to the Show. “Well, I think, honestly, that’s been the vision the whole time. I think that’s why we play and that’s why we’ve dedicated God knows how much time and money into this sport is because we have this Big League dream. But within that, knowing where you want to go is you have to do good where you are, so that’s the big thing for me.”

 

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