The Mississippi State Baseball team had one of their best regular seasons in recent memory. They won their first SEC Regular Season Championship since 1989, and claimed their first National Seed in the NCAA Tournament.
A large part of all that success was the emergence of Freshman Jake Mangum. The talented outfielder hit .408 on the season and was the easy choice for SEC Freshman of the Year.
Making his emergence even more impressive is the fact that it started and happened almost completely against SEC opponents. Most people didn’t see Mangum making a major contribution in 2016, and he hadn’t done too much until he was finally given a chance in a substitution role against Vanderbilt.
In the top of the 8th inning of the second game against Vanderbilt, Jake Mangum had two RBI single that propelled the Bulldogs ahead of the Commodores and proved to be the game winning hit. John Cohen rewarded Mangum with a start the next day.
From that point on, the Mangum Sensation was on. Jake Mangum was one of the toughest outs in the country, and was a much needed bat to go to the top of the lineup. During the last game of the series against Ole Miss, Jacob Robson would suffer an injury causing him to miss several games. Mangum was moved from the two-hole up to the leadoff spot. He finished the year with .510 on-base percentage giving the hitters behind him lots of opportunities to drive in runs.
Mangum will be in Maroon and White for at least two more seasons. Matching what he did as a freshman will be tough to do, but anyone who doubts he can, Jake Mangum will just do his best to prove them wrong.