Baseball signees update

[Premium Article] The left-handed pitcher is still one of the hot commodities for a team at any level to have on a staff. And no doubt that the recent success the MSU baseball program has encountered can be attributed to a couple of southpaws, Paul Maholm and Todd Nicholas. However, with both expected to be drafted high enough to lure the duo from the college level, the Bulldogs are counting on several signees to fill the void, including a pair of left-handed pitcher, Eric Ebers and Andy Wilson.

And Ebers may have the best chance of helping out right away, as the Steeleville, Ill., native is entering his second season on the junior college level. Ebers, 6-0 and 185 pounds, is currently playing for John A. Logan College in Carterville, Ill., and is coming off a freshman season where he was 9-4 with a team-best 1.42 ERA, helping lead John Logan CC to a seventh-place showing in the NJCAA World Series.

Reaching the midway point of his sophomore campaign, Ebers is once again the top ace of the staff, leading the squad with 39 strikeouts in 35.1 innings along with a 3-3 record and 5.35 ERA. Ebers has earned a team-best six starting nods while going the distance in half of his starts.

"I am still working on my changeup, which has been my biggest difference from the high school level to where I am now," said Ebers, who also drew interest from Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi. "Playing this summer in Waterloo, Iowa, also helped me to tweak my game a little more. I also got to play that summer with a couple of current MSU players, Brett Cleveland and Jon Mungle."

After coming out of high school, Ebers has exploded onto the juco scene and drawn more interest from recruiters than he did in his prep career. And it was in his first season of junior college baseball in the Midwest when he decided where he wanted to conclude his college diamond career.

"I really did not know much about them in high school," said Ebers about Mississippi State. "I made my mind up on Mississippi State after my first season at John Logan. It just seemed like the place for me to be at. It is like a dream come true for me to able to pitch in the SEC. That league has the best competition and everyone should strive to play with the best.

"I hope to see a lot of innings right away at MSU. But I know that it will take a lot of hard work to break into that rotation. But I just want to help the staff and team get back to Omaha every year we can."

Wilson, a 6-1 and 175-pound lefty from Columbus, Georgia, has also inked with Ron Polk's program. Wilson also got looks from home-state Georgia along with Elon College and Columbus State. Also a National Honor Society member, Wilson was a perfect 7-0 in his junior season to help lead Columbus High School to a 36-3 mark and the Georgia 3A state crown.

Wilson has floated around in the bullpen so far in his senior season, drawing starts and also serving as a relief man. Wilson is currently 2-1 after five appearances and recorded one save last week after striking out all three batters in his lone inning of work.

"I am working on several different pitches right now," said Wilson. "I am working on just getting stronger and bigger before I go to Mississippi State. I have pitched more in relief this year, mainly because that is where my team needs me. But I have started a couple of games, and probably will start more with our region play starting this week."

In 2003, the current Diamond Dogs have been elevated by several young players, including a handful of rookies getting into the starting lineup. Along with possible early playing time and a great baseball environment, it didn't take Wilson long to figure out where he wanted to play collegiate baseball.

"State is just awesome," said Wilson. "They have a great coaching staff and great tradition. I was impressed on my first visit and I saw that everything is first class. I got to meet many of the players and really enjoyed being around them.

"State has a lot of young talent playing this year and it is exciting to see those young players do so well in their first season. It helps me to know that if I work hard, then I could have a chance to play early. I am getting excited about coming to Starkville. I mailed in some of my applications today and I can hardly wait to get over there."

And hopefully, that excitement will carry over to the MSU staff and Bulldog fans when Wilson and Ebers reach their dreams of playing at Dudy Noble Field and in the Southeastern Conference.


Paul Jones is a recruiting correspondent for Gene's Page. Paul, also a sports writer for the Starkville Daily News, can be reached by email at sdnsport@netdoor.com


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