Billingsley had two goals for himself during the summer.
"After being redshirted, I wanted to go out and get some innings in and to (also) work on my fastball," he said. "I worked on my fastball all summer. I kept working on both the fastball and the slider. During my flatgrounds (pitching drill) before the game I would try to paint the corners with my fastball."
He also added a third pitch late in the summer.
"Toward the end of the summer, I kind of stumbled upon a cutter," said Billingsley. "I threw that during my last two appearances, just to see what it would do. It ended up working out well for me."
It actually worked out more than just well for him. He didn't allow an earned run during his summer ball outings.
"I threw 15 innings in the regular season and 3 in the pre -season," said Billingsley, who only allowed 4 hits while striking out 16 and walking 5 during his 14.2 innings of regular season work. "I threw really well. Everything was working really well. I had the fastball jumping out of my hand. It was moving to both sides of the plate. That helped me out a lot to set up my other pitches. I tried to go out on the mound and throw it in the zone and it ended up working out."
The positive results that he had has skyrocketed his confidence.
"It helped (my confidence) a lot," said Billingsley. "I am very confident right now. I feel like I dominated the hitters during the summer. And I have that same confidence right now."
With the departure of last year's closers Jonathan Holder and Jacob Lindgren, he's one of several candidates for that type role on this year's Bulldog pitching staff.
"What I have been hearing is (the MSU coaches) are going to try and move me to an end of the game closer type role," said Billingsley. "I'm looking forward to it."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.