John Cohen had high hopes for Jesse McCord this past season at Mississippi State.
So much so that Cohen tabbed the freshman pitcher as the Bulldogs’ third starter to begin the year. But McCord’s year would be derailed after only three starts as the right-hander underwent season-ending surgery.
Now McCord is on the mend and determined not to let the injury have an affect on his future.
“It’s a little setback but I’ll be back throwing some this summer and getting back on the horse to get healthy,” McCord said. “I’m pretty sure I got a medical redshirt for this year and next year I’ll be back trying to get into that rotation.”
The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder from Spanish Fort, Ala., feels that his outings as a true freshman will help him when he returns to the mound. McCord was 1-0 with an 8.31 earned run average, nine strikeouts and seven walks in 8 2/3 innings of work.
“I think it’s going to be a tremendous help going out there and already knowing what it’s like to pitch in college,” McCord said. “Everybody coming out of high school thinks it’s nothing but it’s such a different game.”
McCord made his collegiate debut on Valentine’s Day in the second game of a doubleheader against Cincinnati. He took a no decision in the contest after a brief and shaky start allowing three runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts while recording only four outs.
“I was a little nervous when I came out,” McCord said. “There was a decent crowd for that first weekend home series. I was really excited to go out there.”
McCord fared better in his next start 10 days later picking up the win against Alcorn State while fanning six in 5 2/3 innings.
After his surgery in April, McCord spent the rest of the year rehabbing and under the learning tree of pitching coach Butch Thompson.
“It’s incredible working with him,” McCord said. “He’s really intelligent in the pitching world. He communicates that to us and he’s a great guy to be around and learn from.”
McCord was one of the most highly-touted signees in MSU’s 2014 class as a Louisivlle Slugger All-American. He went 12-1 during his senior season sporting a 0.73 ERA, 122 strikeouts and 24 walks in 86 frames while leading Spanish Fort to a Class 5A state championship.
With a four-pitch arsenal of a cutter, slurve, change-up and a two-seam fastball registering at 93 miles per hour, McCord earned scholarship offers from the likes of Ole Miss, Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn, where his brother Rocky pitched this past season.
“It really just came down to Alabama and here,” McCord said. “I really just fell in love with the atmosphere. I came up the year they went to Omaha during the (Starkville) Regional. It was amazing. I really love the coaches here.”