- Name: Cole Marsh
- Classification: Freshman
- Position: RHP
- Ht: Wt: 6-foot-2, 200
- Bats-Throws: R-R
- Community College: Mississippi Delta CC
- High School: Neville (LA) High School
- Schools of Interest: Committed to Mississippi State
Coming into his freshman season at Mississippi Delta Community College, Marsh didn't really know what to expect other than he was going to pitch. But due to several players leaving and his continued improvement as the season progressed, he quickly defined his role on the staff.
"I was going to be a closer/reliever type pitcher for Mississippi Delta but we had some guys leave," said Marsh, who chose MDCC over offers from two jucos in Kansas and one in Louisiana. "Due to that, I got the starting spot and have progressed every game."
And progress he has.
During the months of February, March and April, he has seen his wins increase and his ERA decrease. During February, he won two games, March, three games and April, four games. His ERA for those three months was 1.98, 1.96 and 1.60. In his last two games, both starts, he has allowed zero earned runs in 13 innings, while giving up just two walks and 10 hits in addition to striking out 9. Both were wins, including a shutout win over number 1 Jones County Junior College, one of just two losses that they have had this season.
Marsh wasn't being recruited early in the season but that changed once it became known that he would be able to move on to the next level at the end of this season.
"Once teams found out that (Mississippi Delta head) Coach (Dan) Rives was letting me leave and move on to the next level next year schools starting calling," said Marsh.
Several offered scholarships soon after.
"I had offers from Tulane, Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and Northwestern State," said Marsh.
Then, very soon after Mississippi State threw their hat in the ring.
"(Mississippi Delta CC assistant) Coach (Jarrod) Parks, our hitting coach, I'm guessing was the one who told them about me first," said Marsh. "(Mississippi State assistant) Coach (Will) Coggin, who I had been talking to, came to my game against Pearl River (April 14th). I got a phone call from them the following Monday and they told me they were very interested in me and wanted me to come down for a visit and talk numbers with them."
He visited Mississippi State a few days later,
"They made me love the experience that I had there," said Marsh. "The coaches they have there are phenomenal. And (Mississippi State head) Coach (Andy) Cannizaro has those boys playing really hard for him. He gets them fired up and ready to go. And I think that (Mississippi State pitching) Coach (Gary) Henderson does a very good job with the pitchers that he has this year. They have had a lot of pitching injuries but they are still successful on the mound with all the young arms and even the position players who are getting innings on the mound. Coach Coggin showed me around the campus, showed me the weight room, the library, the Union, showed me everything. It was really beautiful."
While he loved what he saw of Mississippi State during his visit, he still wanted to take his time to think about things before making a decision. Once he sat down and thought about everything, three things stood out about Mississippi State.
"They didn't put any pressure on me to commit," said Marsh. "They told me that I had as much time as I wanted. Coach Cannizaro told me during the visit that he would love for me to commit on the way home or even six months from now. Either way, he said he just wanted me to play for him when I took the step to the next level.
"I talked to the other coaches at places like Alabama and LSU and all the other places and I didn't feel like they wanted me as much as State did. I picked Mississippi State because of how much they wanted me.
"I also looked at the pitching coaches that they have at all of the schools and what they have done to develop their pitchers. Coach Henderson has a hard resume to beat."
Once he made his decision, he made the call.
"I texted Coach Cannizaro, who was at Texas A&M getting his team ready to play Texas A&M, and asked him if he had a minute to talk," said Marsh. "He told me, 'sure, call me.' I called him and told him that I was ready to be a Bulldog. He was very excited hearing that. It sounded like he was kind of in shock. I then called Coach (Gary) Henderson and told him. He was very happy."
He could have waited a few more days and possibly received two additional SEC offers but he didn't see any reason to.
"LSU and Alabama were just starting to get really serious about me," said Marsh. "They were going to come watch me pitch Saturday against Co-Lin, but I told myself that I don't see myself playing for either of those teams. I wanted to be a Bulldog."
Like his freshman season at Mississippi Delta, Marsh is not exactly sure what his role will be on the Mississippi State pitching staff next fall.
"They definitely see me coming in and eating up some innings," said Marsh, who has a fastball in the 89-91, 92/93 miles per hour range and a plus-plus slider. "Whether it be as a weekend starter, a weekday starter, a reliever or a closer, he said I would pitch a lot of innings because I am a versatile pitcher."
No matter what his role will be, he has one team goal that he would like to see Mississippi State achieve during his career at State.
"I know they have been to the College World Series on a consistent basis but haven't won a College World Series yet," said Marsh. "I want to be part of their first team to win it."
Marsh's stats this season include a 9-1 won-loss record with one save and a 1.79 ERA. He has thrown 70.1 innings, striking out 84 while giving up 51 hits and walking 28. Teams are hitting .196 against him. He has given up one double, no triples and two home runs.