BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Konnor Pilkington's stats this year jump of the page. The Mississippi State lefty entered Friday's SEC opener against Vanderbilt boasting a 35:1 strikeout to walk ratio, the best in the nation.
For Major League scouts? It's music to their ears. But for MSU's Friday night starter, it's a simply a formula bringing results.
"Throwing fastballs for strikes low in the zone, in and out, and having a secondary pitch," Pilkington said of his approach on the bump. "Honestly, it's just being a competitor and being the guy, a leader on the mound."
After a dominant high school campaign at East Central, many predicted a smooth transition once Pilkington arrived in Starkville. However, the results have exceeded all expectations for the former Hornet.
A second-team preseason All-American, he entered his junior year ranked 12th on D1 Baseball's Top 100 college prospects. His 2018 record of 1-2 seems like an exception to the 8-5 mark he posted his sophomore year. If Pilkington goes pro this summer, some see him getting drafted as early as the first round, but the southpaw says he'll worry about that next step when the time comes.
"(It's) a lot of great achievements and stuff like that," Pilkington said. "There's a lot of stuff I'm really looking forward to after I finish my career at Mississippi State, but all that's really getting pushed aside right now. I'm really just taking it game by game, pitch by pitch and just going from there."
Pilkington has been a bright spot in an otherwise up-and-down season for #19 Mississippi State (10-8), with head coach Andy Cannizaro unexpectedly resigning just three games into 2018. But, the junior says the Bulldogs are taking everything from this year in stride.
"We've been pretty good, honestly," Pilkington said about his team handling the unexpected obstacles. "We've really been loose about the whole situation and everything, and really playing for each other. We've got each other's backs."