MSU Gets a Steal In Grant Hogue

Pearl River Community College transfer Grant Hogue has made his presence known on the base paths early in the season with Mississippi State, stealing 12 bases in 13 games. But he almost wasn't a Bulldog.

"After Pearl River, I signed with Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond," said the 6-0, 193-pound speedster. "I was going to go there, but right at the last second my heart was telling me not to go there. So, I called (the head coach) and begged for a release. I didn't think I was going to get one, then he finally gave it to me."

Once he received his release it was time to look at other college programs. And Mississippi State head coach Ron Polk has had many successful walks-ons during his career, something Hogue knew about.

"I thought, what better place to play other than here with Coach Polk, who I had heard was very fair with walk-ons," said Grant Hogue, who led his high school team to a 60-15 record and two straight 5A state championships his junior and seniors seasons. "And he gives you every opportunity to play."

With Southern Miss located a couple of miles from the high school he played at, Oak Grove High School, you would have have figured they might have factored into his decision. Not so, said Hogue.

"Being from (Hattiesburg), Southern (Miss) had every opportunity to see me, so they obviously didn't want me. So, I came here and I'm glad I did."

As for those stolen bases, that's always been something that Hogue was good at.

"At Pearl River that's all we did - bunt and run. I stole something like 25 to 27 bases at Pearl River (my sophomore season)," said Hogue, who stole 42 bases in 46 attempts during his two seasons at PRCC. "I'm not really a gap guy who can hit a double, so I have to find a way to get to second somehow."

And in Hogue's case that means stealing bases.

"Coach Polk has given me the (steal) signal, so I just go when I have the sign from him,"said Hogue, who is hitting .452 in 31 at-bats this season. "And he's given it to me a lot lately. "

Although he doesn't have a green light to steal, he's got the next best thing to it.

"Early in the count, 0-0, he has the steal sign, and it stays on until I take it off," said Polk. "So, yes, technically, it's a green light."

With Southeastern Conference play about to begin this coming weekend with the 5th ranked Ole Miss Rebels coming to town, things might change somewhat in regard to Hogue's ability to steal bases due to several factors.

"A lot of people may have more stolen bases than us, but we probably run as much as anybody," explained Polk. "Often times, we will have a hit and run on where we drive the ball into the outfield and the guy goes to third. On some other teams, it may just be a straight steal. But with Grant and Mark Goforth, we have two guys with really good speed, although we aren't going to set any stolen base records because I only have two or three guys in the lineup who can run against SEC caliber catchers."

Another factor will be the caliber of the pitching arms Hogue and company will be facing in SEC competition.

"Facing (Lance) Lynn and (Cody) Satterwhite will be tough," said Hogue, referring to Ole Miss' Friday and Saturday starting pitchers, both of whom thrown in the low to high-90's and both of whom are projected to be first-round selections in the June Major League Baseball draft. "I'm just going to try and find a way on somehow. And they will be tough to steal off of too."

Early in the season, the switch-hitting outfielder was being used only against right-handed pitchers, but not so, as of late.

"Usually, I start when there is a lefty on the mound, but I've started lately against a righty," said Hogue. "But I'm taking it a day at a time and trying to play as hard as I can. And thank the Lord for the opportunity to be out here."

And as long as he continues to get on base and steal bases, there is no doubt those opportunities should come often.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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