Diamond Dogs Ink Pro Contracts

STARKVILLE, Miss. --- Four players from Mississippi State's 2011 NCAA Super Regional baseball edition have signed professional baseball contracts and are set to embark on their careers in professional baseball.

MSU players joining the pro ranks include second baseman Nick Vickerson from Tuscaloosa, Ala., a 20th-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers, has come to terms with Texas, third baseman Jarrod Parks of Madison, Miss., a 24th round selection of the Los Angeles Angels, and free agent signees Jonathan Ogden of Cypress, Texas, and catcher Wes Thigpen of Luling, La., both signing with the Detroit Tigers.

Vickerson will report to Spokane, Wash., to begin his professional baseball career with the Spokane Indians in the short season Northwest League. He finished second on the team with a .319 batting average, leading the Bulldogs with 57 runs scored, 17 doubles, nine home runs, 29 extra-base hits, 37 RBI and 26 stolen bases.

Parks is set to begin his pro baseball career in Orem, Utah with the Orem Owlz of the Pioneer League. Parks, a 62-game starter at third base, captured the SEC's regular season batting title and finished the campaign with a .363 batting average. He led the club with 77 hits, 44 walks, a school-record 20 HBPs, and a league-leading .507 on-base percentage.

Bulldog shortstop Jonathan Ogden of Cypress, Texas, and catcher Wes Thigpen of Luling, La., have signed free agent contracts with the Detroit Tigers and both have reported to Detroit's training center in Lakeland, Fla. Ogden hit .261 and drew starts in 61 at shortstop, ranking second on the club with 20 extra-base hits, eight home runs and 36 RBI. Thigpen drew 44 starts behind the dish, where he led the SEC with seven pickoffs and compiled a .992 fielding percentage. He hit .237 with a team-best 10 sacrifice hits and 26 RBI.

Two other Diamond Dogs selected in this year's MLB draft have not yet signed professional contracts. Junior right-hander Devin Jones of Eupora, Miss., a ninth-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles and senior outfielder Jaron Shepherd from Kilgore, Texas, a 33rd-round pick of the Colorado Rockies, are continuing talks with Baltimore and Colorado.

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